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Older News Archivescom0116

Obama Chides Huckabee For Invoking Holocaust In Criticism Of Iran Deal
Republican Mike Huckabee drew a rebuke from President Obama on Monday for invoking the Holocaust in his criticism of the Iran nuclear deal -- marking a rare, long-distance clash between the sitting president and the field of Republicans vying to replace him. Speaking at a press conference during his visit to Ethiopia, Obama said the comments from the GOP White House contender were part of a "pattern" of remarks from candidates that "would be considered ridiculous if it weren't so sad."
He also criticized Donald Trump for questioning Sen. John McCain's "war hero" record, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for his comments on the Iran agreement. Huckabee has faced broad criticism after likening the nuclear deal to "marching the Israelis to the door of the oven," a reference to the Holocaust. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Obama's Iran deal is a threat to the world.

Bill Cosby's 35 Accusers Appear On New York Magazine Cover
Thirty-five women who have accused Bill Cosby of sex assault appear on the current cover of New York Magazine in a stunning statement of unity against the legendary comic. The black-and-white photograph of the women seated in similar poses appears on the July 27 issue. The headline reads, "Cosby: The Women. An unwelcome sisterhood."Cosby, who has not been charged with any crime, has repeatedly denied the accusations. But they gained traction in recent weeks when a deposition from 2005 surfaced in which he admitted to obtaining Quaaludes in the 1970s with the intention of drugging women so he could have sex with them. He never admitted actually giving the drug to the women, however. New York Magazine's website crashed Monday morning for at least six hours and remained down. CNN

Rand Paul On Planned Parenthood Videos: ‘Even Pro-Choice People Are Horrified By This’
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a GOP presidential contender, told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the “pro-choice people” he’s talked to are “horrified” by the Planned Parenthood videos released recently which show Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of baby body parts. “I think even pro-choice people are horrified by this. I know a lot of people on the whole spectrum of the abortion issue. I don't talk to any pro-choice friends who are not horrified by this,” said Paul, a medical doctor. CNS News


Obama Slams GOP 2016 Hopefuls For 'Ridiculous' Rhetoric
Saying that Americans "deserve better," President Barack Obama offered his most extensive comments on the 2016 Republican field on Monday, accusing candidates like Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump of using rhetoric "that would be considered ridiculous if it weren't so sad." During a press conference in Ethiopia, Obama slammed Huckabee for saying that the Iran nuclear deal "is marching Israelis to the door of the oven." And he accused GOP critics of violating a rule in American politics that "we don't play fast and loose" on important foreign policy issues. "The American people deserve better," he said. "Certainly presidential debates deserve better." MSNBC

Boy Scouts Of America End Total Ban On Gay Adults
The Boy Scouts of America on Monday ended its blanket ban on gay adult leaders while allowing church-sponsored Scout units to maintain the exclusion for religious reasons. The new policy, aimed at easing a controversy that has embroiled the Boy Scouts for years, takes effect immediately. It was approved by the BSA's National Executive Board on a 45-12 vote during a closed-to-the-media teleconference. "For far too long this issue has divided and distracted us," said the BSA's president, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. "Now it's time to unite behind our shared belief in the extraordinary power of Scouting to be a force for good." Philadelphia Inquirer

Malaysia, Cuba Taken Off U.S. Human Trafficking Blacklist
The State Department on Monday took Malaysia and Cuba off its blacklist of countries failing to combat modern-day slavery, leaving the U.S. open to criticism that politics is swaying the often-contentious rankings in its annual human trafficking report. Thailand, downgraded with Malaysia last year because of pervasive labor abuses in its lucrative fishing industry, remained on the blacklist. That will add to the growing strains in its once-strong relations with Washington. Critics contend that Malaysia's upgrade is related to its participation in a U.S.-backed trade agreement among Pacific Rim countries. Thailand is not part of the proposed agreement. MSNBC
VOA VIEW: Obama's foreign policy is a joke.

Obama Pushing For Largest Gun Grab In American History’
The Obama administration is pushing to ban Social Security beneficiaries from owning guns if they lack the mental capacity to manage their own disability payments — a move the NRA is calling the “largest gun grab in American history.” The push is intended to integrate data for the first time from the Social Security Administration into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), OutdoorHub reported. Beneficiaries who have been declared incompetent to manage pension or disability payments and assigned a fiduciary could then potentially lose their right to bear arms. Washington Times

State Department To Hand Over 5K More Benghazi-Related Files
The State Department has agreed to turn over 5,000 more pages of documents to the House of Representatives committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, the panel’s chairman said Monday. The document dump, which is planned to take place Tuesday, represents a temporary truce in the ongoing heated negotiations between committee Republicans and the State Department over evidence and testimony. In return for the documents, the committee has postponed its demand that Secretary of State John Kerry’s chief of staff, Jon Finer, submit to a public grilling over the department’s perceived stalling in handing over the Benghazi-related papers. NY Post

Gadhafi’s Son Sentenced To Death Over Killings In Libyan Uprising
A court in the Libyan capital has sentenced a son of Moammar Gadhafi to death over killings during the country’s 2011 uprising. The Tripoli court handed down the sentence Tuesday for Seif al-Islam, who is currently being held by a militia that refuses to hand him over to the central government. The court sentenced eight others to death as well, including former Libyan spy chief Abdullah al-Senoussi. NY Post


Boston Mobster 'Whitey' Bulger Was Denied Right To Testify
The judge who blocked former Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger from claiming a U.S. prosecutor gave him immunity for his crimes violated his rights by preventing him from testifying at his 2013 racketeering trial, Bulger's lawyer said on Monday. The lawyer, Hank Brennan, went before a three-judge panel of the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston to challenge the conviction of Bulger, 85, on charges including committing or ordering 11 murders in the 1970s and 1980s.
The trial detailed Bulger's corrupt relationship with federal agents and prosecutors in Boston who turned a blind eye to the Irish-American gangster's crimes in return for information they could use against the Italian-American mafia. Reuters

Scientists Worry About Arms Race In Artificial Intelligence
Scientists and tech experts — including Stephen Hawking and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak — are warning of a global arms race with weapons using artificial intelligence. In an open letter Tuesday with hundreds of signatories, the experts argue that if any major military power pushes ahead with development of autonomous weapons, "a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow." Some critics argue in favor of so-called "killer robots," saying the use of robotics on the battlefield could save lives. Though such weapons are still some years away, experts warn that once developed, it would only become a matter of time before they "appear on the black market and in the hands of terrorists." Tampa Tribune

Obama Ivory Crackdown Leaves Open California Loopholes
Ivory dealers in San Francisco's Chinatown stood in their shop doors besides store windows full of carved ivory tusks and trinkets this week, unfazed by President Barack Obama's announcement of proposed rules that the White House says go as far as the administration can go toward banning all U.S. trade of ivory from the world's endangered elephants. "Wooly mammoth ivory," not elephant ivory, Chinatown store manager Michael Rasoyli said of the carved tusks in his store in San Francisco, which with Los Angeles makes up two of the country's top three hubs for ivory sales. "Cow bone," store manager Virginia Lo said, in another Chinatown shop next door, of the half-dozen curved tusks up to 4 ½ -feet long for sale in her own shop.  Tampa Tribune

Donald Trump’s Shifting Political Affiliations Targeted By GOP Foes
Over the course of the past three decades or so, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has registered as a Republican several times, as a Democrat and Independence Party member once, and has also declined to identify with a party as his Republican opponents press him on his evolving politics. According to documents obtained by The Smoking Gun, Mr. Trump registered as a Republican in 1987 before registering with the Independence Party in 1999, as a Democrat in 2001, then as a Republican again in September 2009. In December 2011, he declined to state a party affiliation before registering again as a Republican in April 2012 and later endorsing 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Washington Times

Kepler-452b: What It Would Be Like To Live On Earth's "Cousin"
 Kepler-452b may be Earth's close cousin, but living on the newfound world would still be an alien experience. A group of pioneers magically transported to the surface of Kepler-452b -- which is the closest thing to an "Earth twin" yet discovered, researchers announced July 23 -- would instantly realize they weren't on their home planet anymore. (And magic, or some sort of warp drive, must be invoked for such a journey, since Kepler-452b lies 1,400 light-years away.) Kepler-452 is 60 percent wider than Earth and probably about five times more massive, so its surface gravity is considerably stronger than the pull people are used to here. Any hypothetical explorers would thus feel about twice as heavy on the alien world as they do on Earth, researchers said. CBS

Obama To Conclude Historic Trip With African Union Address
President Obama will conclude his historic five-day visit to east Africa by addressing the African Union on Tuesday. Obama was scheduled to visit a food factory, before becoming the first sitting U.S. president to address the 54-nation African Union, which is headquartered in the capital of Addis Ababa. He is also due to meet with African Union Commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. On Monday, Obama and African Union representatives met to discuss terrorism, human rights and regional security issues. The U.S. president also pressed the Ethiopian government to ease restrictions on free speech, the press and political opposition. USA Today

Honore: America's In Denial About Gun Culture
Retired U.S. Army Gen. Russel Honore, Louisiana's most well-known 21st century military hero, said America is mired in a state of denial about its gun culture and that's harming the country. "As a country we're in a state of denial because we've confused the right to bear arms with the right to carry arms all the time anywhere or anyplace you want," Honore told Gannett Louisiana on Monday. "We have to have a different kind of conversation in America and be prepared to speak about the politically unspeakable." Honore said the string of recen "It breaks my heart to see that happen in my home state or anywhere in America," he said. "We've got a problem in this country, and at some point the politicians have to get down into the community and find some answers to this problem." USA Today

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Number Of Wildfires In California Up, But Damage Is Smaller
California has seen more wildfires so far this year, but the acreage burned is smaller thanks to favorable weather and more firefighters who can quickly be dispatched to corral flames, fire officials say. Since Jan. 1, about 5,200 fires have burned on state and federal lands, according to the U.S. Forest Service. That's 10 percent more than last year, but the 74,000 acres is 6 percent smaller. Spurts of unseasonably rainy weather combined with the availability of hundreds of additional firefighters paid for with emergency drought funding have made a big difference, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant said on Monday. Houston Chronicle

Deep Ties Help Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush Raise Big Money From Georgia
An Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of newly released Federal Election Commission data shows that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Republican former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush parlayed their name recognition and deep ties to party infrastructure into big money from Georgians. Clinton took home $606,000 from Georgia, while Bush raised $319,000 — much of it in maximum $2,700 increments. The other Republicans in the race raised far less, though hundreds of Georgians gave small amounts to neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, indicating a strong grass-roots backing. On the Democratic side, Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders raised $36,000 from Georgia, while former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley took in a mere $11,000. Atlanta Journal

Republic Stock Plunges On Possible Flight Disruptions
Republic Airways warned that its operation of regional flights for the nation's biggest airlines could be disrupted by a pilot shortage and labor standoff. Its shares fell by more than 50 percent in mid-afternoon trading. Republic disclosed late Friday that it had cut flying by 4 percent in early summer and was talking with American, United, Delta and US Airways about reducing its flying more through the first half of next year. At American Airlines, which also owns US Airways, spokesman Casey Norton said the airlines use 10 regional carriers and were working with Republic on "minor schedule adjustments" to reduce impact on passengers. United and Delta did not immediately comment on how Republic's problems might affect their regional operations. ABC

With Warning To US, North Korea Marks End Of Korean War
North Korean officials warned the United States that another war on the Korean Peninsula would leave no Americans alive to sign a surrender document as the country marked Monday's anniversary of the armistice that ended fighting in the Korean War more than six decades ago. Pyongyang and other cities around North Korea were decked out with flags and banners as North Koreans flocked to patriotic gatherings and mass dance celebrations to mark the anniversary of the July 27, 1953, agreement that brought the three-year Korean war to an end with an armistice, not a peace treaty. North Korean officials took the opportunity of the anniversary to step up their anti-U.S. rhetoric and call upon the nation to redouble its devotion to the nation's current leader, Kim Jong Un, the third leader in the Kim dynasty, and prepare for a final showdown with Washington. ABC
VOA VIEW: North Korea and Iran are a threat to the world.

U.S. Stocks Decline After China Shares Selloff On Growth Concern
U.S. stocks fell, with equities headed for their longest losing streak since January, after the biggest slump in eight years for Chinese shares amid concern over the nation’s economic growth. Apple Inc. slipped 1.4 percent after its worst week in six months. Baidu Inc., China’s largest search engine, lost 4.5 percent. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. retreated 2 percent. Energy shares dropped as oil sank. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. surged 12 percent after agreeing to buy Allergan Plc’s generic-drug business for $40.5 billion. Allergan added 6.9 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slid 0.5 percent to 2,069.57 at 1:51 p.m. in New York, after falling as much as 0.8 percent. The gauge had earlier trimmed declines in half after hitting its average price during the past 200 days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 126.24 points, or 0.7 percent, to 17,442.29, reaching its lowest level since February. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.9 percent. Bloomberg

Push To Scale Back Sentencing Laws Gains Momentum
For several years, a handful of lawmakers in Congress have tried to scale back tough sentencing laws that have bloated federal prisons and the cost of running them. But broad-based political will to change those laws remained elusive. Now, with a push from President Obama, and perhaps even more significantly a nod from Speaker John A. Boehner, Congress seems poised to revise four decades of federal policy that greatly expanded the number of Americans — to roughly 750 per 100,000 — now incarcerated, by far the highest of any Western nation. NY Times

Thailand Remains Backlisted By US For Human Trafficking
Thai authorities are upset about being blacklisted by the U.S. for the second year in a row for failing to do enough to combat modern-day slavery. The State Department said Monday that labor abuses in the Southeast Asian country’s seafood sector are persistent, abusive and largely ignored by the government. Those abuses have been widely documented in a series of stories this year by The Associated Press which tracked the supply chains of major U.S. retailers to Thai processors selling slave-caught seafood. Those reports have prompted rescues and repatriations of more than 800 men this year. Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said Tuesday that Thailand was working on solving the issues and that the assessment was made when his administration, which took over after a military coup last year, was beginning to address the problems. Charlotte Observer

Senate Votes To Hide Execution Details; Doctors Out Of Death Chamber
North Carolina residents will not have access to information about the lethal drugs used to execute death row inmates, according to a state Senate bill approved on Monday. The legislation, which passed 33-16, also removes the requirement that doctors be present in North Carolina’s death chamber, an amendment designed to do away with one of the many legal in the way of restarting executions. The Senate has made a minor change to the bill, which began in the House. As a result, the two chambers will have to agree on a common version before it would be sent to Gov. Pat McCrory. Charlotte Observer


Kenyan President Tells Obama: LGBT Rights ‘A Non-Issue’ For Kenyans Today
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta pushed back gently against President Obama’s promotion of homosexual and lesbian rights on Saturday, saying Kenyans had more pressing concerns to deal with, including health, education and “ensuring inclusivity of women.” While Kenya and the U.S. shared many values, Kenyatta said during a joint press conference in Nairobi, “there are some things that we must admit we don’t share – our culture, our societies don’t accept. It is very difficult for us to be able to impose on people that which they themselves do not accept.” “This is why I repeatedly say that, for Kenyans today, the issue of gay rights is really a non-issue,” he added.  CNS News

And The Cheapest Place To Buy Gas In The U.S. Is...
The average price of gasoline has dropped a penny over the past two weeks to $2.82 a gallon. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday that the current average sits 76 cents below the year-ago price. The cheapest price recorded in the continental United States was $2.33 a gallon in Birmingham, Alabama. The highest was $4.13 a gallon in Los Angeles. Lundberg says California saw huge wholesale price hikes during a brief supply shortage. She says supplies are flowing again and pump prices are poised to drop in the Golden State. The national average price of diesel was down 6 cents over the same period to $2.86 a gallon. CBS

Your E-mail Font Is Ruining Your Life
Well, maybe not your life. But certainly your reputation with people of good taste. Helvetica, the hip font of choice for brands and typeface nerds, is the default font setting for Apple Mail. Gmail defaults to Arial, a font one designer called Helvetica's "ugly bastard son." If the browser doesn't support Arial, Gmail will use Helvetica instead. While Helvetica is beloved by design nerds for its neutrality, its uniformity and lack of consistent spacing make it hard to read in large chunks of text. "The letters are too close together," said Nadine Chahine, a type designer at Monotype. "That makes it too tight." Arial, like Helvetica, has what font designers call "ambiguous" letter shapes that make it difficult to parse lots of words in a row. "If you imagine b, d, p, and q, those are letter forms that all the children always mess up. They are mirror forms of one another," font designer Bruno Maag said. "That feature is emphasized in a font like Arial, where the shapes are literally mirror forms." Bloomberg

Biden, Cuomo To Make ‘Major’ Infrastructure Announcement
Vice President Joe Biden, who last year dubbed one of New York's airports "a Third World country," is talking infrastructure with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. They're scheduled to make a "major infrastructure announcement" Monday afternoon in New York City. The event is the vice president's second in New York state on Monday. Earlier in the day, he's expected to be in Rochester, where he'll talk at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. Cuomo also is expected to be there. The governor's office didn't give any details on what the infrastructure announcement would be about.  Las Vegas Sun

Nigerian Leader Visits Cameroon As Boko Haram Attacks
A Nigerian official says newly elected President Muhammadu Buhari will make his first official visit to one-time enemy Cameroon Wednesday to ease tensions and bolster support for a regional army to fight the Boko Haram Islamic uprising spilling across borders. Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu confirmed the trip which comes eight weeks after Buhari visited Niger and Chad in his first week in office. The two neighbors deployed troops to Nigeria to fight Boko Haram while Cameroon has sent thousands of troops to prevent the insurgents from escaping across Nigeria's border. Nigeria's previous administration said Boko Haram was using Cameroon as a bolt-hole with impunity. Atlanta Journal

Hispanics’ Population Rises In The U.S. — But Their Home Ownership Doesn’t
They make up the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, yet Hispanics are increasingly locked out of home ownership because of tighter lending standards that rely on outdated measures of creditworthiness. Comprising more than 17 percent of the population right now and projected to double, Hispanics are a political and economic force to be reckoned with. And they potentially represent an answer to turning around a sagging national home ownership rate that’s approaching levels not seen since before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The national rate of home ownership fell to 63.8 percent over the first three months of 2015. The last time it was lower was the final quarter of 1989, when it stood at 63.7 percent. Miami Herald

Florida Congressional Delegation Will See Upheaval In 2016
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio's presidential ambitions and a court ruling tossing out several congressional district maps will cause upheaval among Florida's representation in Washington, including political complications for a congresswoman considered one of the state's few Democratic stars. At least four and potentially five members of Congress are leaving to pursue the seat Rubio is giving up after one term, and the Legislature will begin a court-ordered special session next month to draw new maps that could affect most of Florida's congressional districts. "I don't think either party comes out way on top," said Screven Watson, a Democratic consultant and former executive director of the Florida Democratic Party. "It's a shift in representation. You're going to lose a D seat here, you're going to gain an R seat here, but you're going to look up and see a bunch of new people." SF Gate

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High Costs Plague Some State-Run Health Insurance Markets
State-run health insurance markets that offer coverage under President Barack Obama's health law are struggling with high costs and disappointing enrollment. These challenges could lead more of them to turn over operations to the federal government or join forces with other states. Hawaii's marketplace, the latest cautionary tale, was awarded $205 million in federal startup grants. It has spent about $139 million and enrolled 8,200 customers for individual coverage in 2015. Unable to sustain itself, the state marketplace is turning over sign-ups to the federal HealthCare.gov for 2016. Twelve states and the District of Columbia fully control their markets. Experts estimate about half face financial difficulties. Federal taxpayers invested nearly $5 billion in startup grants to the states, expecting that state markets would become self-sustaining. Most of the federal money has been spent, and states have to face the consequences. Fox News

Android Phones Can Be Hacked With A Simple Text
Android phones can get infected by merely receiving a picture via text message, according to research published Monday. This is likely the biggest smartphone flaw ever discovered. It affects an estimated 950 million phones worldwide -- about 95% of the Androids in use today. The problem stems from the way Android phones analyze incoming text messages. Even before you open a message, the phone automatically processes incoming media files -- including pictures, audio or video. That means a malware-laden file can start infecting the phone as soon as it's received, according Zimperium, a cybersecurity company that specializes in mobile devices.
If this sounds familiar, that's because this Android flaw is somewhat like the recent Apple text hack. CNN

Oil Prices Off Slightly After China Stock Market Decline
Crude oil prices moved slightly downward Monday, after a sharp decline in China's stock market and continuing concerns regarding an excess of oil in the world market. West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the U.S. benchmark of light sweet crude oil, declined 0.71 percent to $47.43 per barrel Monday. Brent crude oil prices declined to $53.51 per barrel, a drop of 1.09 percent. The figures are down from their 2015 highs of $61.30 per barrel for WTI, set in June, and $66.33 per barrel for Brent crude, set in May. UPI News

Protein Imbalance In Cells Can Cause Non-Genetic Cancer
Cancer can be caused by protein imbalances in cells, according to a new study on ovarian cancer, showing that genetic mutations should not be the only focus for cancer researchers and clinicians. The research also may help doctors determine if chemotherapy can be effective for all patients and whether tumors will grow or spread.
"There has been huge investment in sequencing the human genome with the idea that if we get all the relevant genetic information we can predict whether you have a predisposition to cancer and, ultimately, use a precision medicine-based approach to develop a therapeutic approach," said Professor John Ladbury, dean of the Faculty of Biological Sciences at University of Leeds, in a press release. "Our study demonstrates that genetic screening alone is not enough." UPI News

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Obama And Leaders Discuss Possible Sanctions, Force For South Sudan
President Barack Obama and regional leaders discussed options on Monday that included sanctions and a "regional intervention force" if South Sudan's warring parties do no agree a peace deal by August 17, a U.S. official said. Obama met with leaders from Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan, and the African Union to discuss the crisis.
The group agreed on the urgency of the situation in South Sudan but did not reach a consensus on what to do if a peace deal is not reached, the official said. Jerusalem Post

Obama Says Yet To Hear Good Argument Against Iran Nuclear Deal, Criticises Republicans
United States President Barack Obama on Monday said he was yet to hear a strong factual argument against a nuclear deal with Iran that holds up to scrutiny, and criticized rhetoric about the deal from some leading members of the Republican party. Obama said the rhetoric from Mike Huckabee, bidding to lead the Republican party into the next presidential election, was part of a pattern of comments that were ridiculous and sad. Obama also criticized comments by Republican candidate Donald Trump about war veteran John McCain, saying presidential debates deserve better than that. Jerusalem Post

Huckabee Israel 'Oven' Comments Trigger Row
The US Democratic party has demanded an apology from Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee over comments he made about the Iran nuclear deal. Mr Huckabee said President Barack Obama was marching Israelis "to the door of the oven" - an apparent reference to the Nazi death camps. The head of the Democratic National Committee said the statement had no place in US politics. She said Mr Huckabee should apologise to the Jewish community. Many US Republicans have strongly criticised the accord struck on 14 July which aims to curb Iran's nuclear programme in return for the easing of economic sanctions. BBC

Turkey And US 'Planning Buffer Zone' In Northern Syria
The US and Turkey are working together on military plans to clear the Islamic State (IS) group from parts of northern Syria, American officials say. They said an "Islamic State-free zone" would ensure greater stability along the Syria-Turkish border. The talks follow a major shift in Turkey's approach to IS in recent days. Turkey, which had been reluctant to intervene in Syria, has launched raids against IS and allowed US jets to use a Turkish base. The Turkish operations have led to tensions with Kurdish militia forces fighting IS in northern Syria. On Monday Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) said Turkish tanks had shelled their fighters near the key town of Kobane. Turkey said it was investigating the YPG's claim. BBC

Dying For Christianity: Millions At risk Amid Rise In Persecution Across The Globe
Christians are facing growing persecution around the world, fuelled mainly by Islamic extremism and repressive governments, leading the pope to warn of “a form of genocide” and for campaigners to speak of “religio-ethnic cleansing”. The scale of attacks on Christians in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America has alarmed organisations that monitor religious persecution, with most reporting a significant deterioration in recent years. On his recent trip to Latin America, Pope Francis said he was dismayed “to see how in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus”. He went on: “In this third world war, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide is taking place, and it must end.” Guardian

Just The Fax: Internet Activists Go Analog To Fight Congress On Cybersecurity Bill
Internet activists determined to halt what they see as another ill-conceived Washington cybersecurity bill are hitting Congress where it hurts: right in the fax machine.
Protesters have programmed eight separate phone lines to convert emails sent from a handy box at FaxBigBrother.com (as well as tweets with the hashtag #faxbigbrother) to individual faxes and send them to all 100 members of the US Senate. The rationale, said Evan Greer of activist group Fight for the Future, is that Congress doesn’t appear to understand technology invented in the current century. “Groups like Fight for the Future have sent millions of emails, and they still don’t seem to get it,” said Greer. “Maybe they don’t get it because they’re stuck in 1984, and we figured we’d use some 80s technology to try to get our point across.” All 100 members of Congress will receive each of the faxes. Guardian

Parties Continue To Make Progress Towards ‘Shared Vision’ Of United Cyprus, UN Envoy Says
The positive and results-oriented climate of the talks between the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders continues to foster the progress required towards conclusion of a settlement as soon as possible, the United Nations Special Adviser on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, confirmed today. “The Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci, and the Greek Cypriot leader, Nicos Anastasiades, continued to make progress towards their shared vision of a united, federal Cyprus,” according to Espen Barth Eide. Today’s meeting focused on issues of property and criteria on territory, Mr. Eide explained in a statement. UN News

UN Mission Finds Overall environment in Burundi ‘not conducive’ to rredible election process
While the 21 July election in Burundi that won President Pierre Nkurunziza a controversial third term was relatively peaceful and conducted adequately, the overall environment was ‘not conducive’ for an inclusive, free and credible electoral process,” the United Nations Electoral Observation Mission in the country (MENUB) announced today. This was the main conclusion of MENUB’s preliminary findings on the conduct of the presidential polls in Burundi, which took place after two postponements in an environment of “profound mistrust” between opposing political camps. The decision of the incumbent President to run for another term precipitated a deep political and socioeconomic crisis, the mission said. UN News

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