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NEWS     MONDAY, JUlY 28, 2014     NEWS


Romney Tops Obama But Loses To Clinton
If a rematch of the 2012 presidential election were held today, GOP nominee Mitt Romney would top President Barack Obama in the popular vote, according to a new national survey. But a CNN/ORC International poll also indicates that if Romney changes his mind and runs again for the White House, Hillary Clinton would best him by double digits in a hypothetical showdown. The survey, released Sunday morning, also suggests that more Americans see Clinton as a strong and capable leader than those who feel the same way about Obama. But Clinton's numbers on five personal characteristics have slightly edged down the past few months. CNN
VOA VIEW: Clinton is the liberal media's princess.

Tanker Carrying Iraqi Kurdish Oil Anchored Off Texas Port
A tanker carrying crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan was anchored near the Port of Galveston, Texas, and must undergo a routine safety inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard on Sunday before it can unload its cargo, an official said. The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker United Kalavrvta sailed from the Turkish port of Ceyhan in June bound for the U.S. Gulf Coast despite Washington's concerns over independent oil sales from the autonomous region and threats from the Iraqi central government. Crude offloading could begin as early as Sunday, if the tanker passes the Coast Guard inspection "and there are no other issues," said Coast Guard Petty Officer Andy Kendrick. Reuters

Experts Cancel MH17 Visit Amid Renewed Fighting In Ukraine
International experts canceled plans to visit the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash site in restive eastern Ukraine as fighting in the region flared. Officials from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) announced their decision on Sunday at a hotel in Donetsk, a key city to the pro-Russian rebel movement fighting the government in Kiev. Beyond retrieving bodies from the wreckage site, the investigation into the crash remained on hold as fighting raged between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists. Ukrainian officials announced that their forces had made advances in the rebel-held territory, reaching the outskirts of Donetsk. On Saturday, the Dutch government that the first formal identification of a MH17 crash victim had taken place and the victim was a Dutch national. The government declined to release other identifying information such as age and sex. MSNBC

Madeleine Albright: ‘The World’s A Mess’
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s behavior and the Arab Spring in the Middle East have been “game changers,” complicating U.S. foreign policy. “To put it mildly, the world is a mess,” she said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” She talked specifically about the recent crisis in Israel. While America can plan talks and cease fires, she said no progress will be made until both Israelis and Palestinians want to end the attacks and begin to negotiate. “What are the preconditions for even getting to discussing the conditions?” she said. “So it’s a tough sell for everybody.” Washington Times


New Revelations From The Nixon Tapes
In August 1974, as impeachment loomed, Nixon resigned in disgrace. Now, 40 years later, these same recordings are redefining Nixon's legacy. "Here we have this unique presidential record -- 3,700 hours," said Luke Nichter, an associate professor of history at Texas A & M. "And only around five to seven percent had ever been transcribed. For a historian, this is a gold mine." Nichter has dusted off a library of Nixon tapes in the National Archives: "They're part private conversations and deliberations. They're the policymaking process in real time. Nixon thought he was making history, and he wanted to record that history." Transcribing that history took Nichter 10 years. Some tapes are much easier to understand than others. CBS

US Less Safe Than Several Years Ago
The United States is now less safe than it was years ago, in part because a brutal terrorist group has been able to gain power in Iraq after the post-war government there "blew it," a top U.S. intelligence official said on Saturday. The frank words came from Lt. Gen Michael Flynn, the outgoing head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, at a national security forum in Aspen, Colorado, where over several days top current and former counterterrorism officials warned of several simultaneous threats to the United States emanating from the Middle East and Africa. Asked if the United States is generally now safer than it was two or even 10 years ago, Flynn said, "My quick answer is we're not." ABC


New House Whip Vows To Stay In Washington Until Congress Has Immigration Plan
Rep. Steve Scalise, the incoming House Majority Whip, said Sunday he will stay in Washington until Congress agrees to an emergency spending plan for the border-immigration crisis, but declined to say whether he will cancel the lower chamber’s August recess. “I’m going to stay until it’s done,” said Scalise, R-La., the Tea Party-backed lawmaker who in June became the No. 3 Republican in the GOP-led House after Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his re-election bid. In an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” Scalise also laid out House Republicans' legislative agenda before the November elections, including a vow to agree to a spending bill before the federal government runs out of money in October -- avoiding the possibility of a so-called government shutdown. Fox News

Wikipedia Imposes Editing Ban On House Staffers
Wikipedia has imposed a 10-day editing ban on the IP addresses connected to the U.S. House of Representatives, following a series of disruptive edits by congressional staffers. The ban comes after the newly created @congressedits bot began tracking anonymous edits from congressional IP addresses, the Ars Technica website reported. Wikipedia imposed a one-day ban earlier this month, but reinstated it Thursday when the page for the media news site Mediaite, which had reported before on the rogue edits, was edited by an anonymous congressional staffer to say it’s a “sexist transphobic” news outlet. Washington Times

Plan To Simplify 2015 Health Renewals May Backfire
People who have health insurance on their jobs usually don't think twice about next year's renewal. But if you are in one of the new plans under President Barack Obama's health law, that assumption could lead to costly surprises. Industry officials, advocates and other experts say insurance exchange customers who opt for convenience by automatically renewing their coverage for 2015 are likely to receive dated and inaccurate financial aid amounts from the government. If those amounts are too low, consumers could get sticker shock over their new premiums. Too high, and they'll owe the tax man later. Las Vegas Sun

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Two Americans Now Reportedly Infected With Deadly Ebola Virus In West Africa
Two U.S. citizens are now reported to be infected with the deadly and incurable Ebola virus in West Africa. The first American reported to have contracted the disease is an American doctor working with Ebola patients in Liberia, who tested positive for the deadly virus, North Carolina-based Samaritan's Purse issued said in a news release on Saturday. The second person who reportedly tested positive for Ebola is a woman employed by an aid organization in Liberia who is a married mother of two. CBS

Hillary Clinton Backs Refugee Screening Abroad For Central American Kids
Hillary Clinton supports creating a refugee screening process for Central American children in their home countries to allow more to come the U.S legally, and prevent them from undertaking the dangerous trek north. "If we don’t have a procedure, it’s not going to stop, more kids are going to come," Clinton told Fusion's Jorge Ramos on Friday. President Obama is reportedly considering such a plan in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to stem the flow of minors crossing into the U.S. without authorization. ABC

Secret Tunnels Under Israel Reveal Intricate Threat From Gaza
Slipping into a tunnel under Israel’s southern border and heading toward the Gaza Strip, the scorching summer heat suddenly turns cooler and the boom of artillery fire above fades away. The passage, built by Gaza militants to infiltrate Israel, is just high enough for a person carrying a weapon to walk through upright. Its sides and arched ceiling are made of prefabricated cement slabs. Two metal rails run along a poured concrete floor, to accommodate carts that removed dug-out earth and transported weapons, the Israeli military says. Bloomberg


Nissan Recalls Over 226,000 More Vehicles Over Defective Air Bags
Nissan is recalling more than 226,000 additional vehicles over a defective air bag that has affected much of the global auto industry. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Saturday that Nissan North America Inc. is recalling certain lines of its Infiniti, Maxima, Pathfinder and Sentra cars for the model years 2002 to 2004. Faulty air bags have already been blamed for the recall of millions of cars around the world in recent years, including those made by BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mazda and Toyota. Fox News

Investors Pin Growth Hopes On U.S. As Ukraine Crisis Casts Shadow On Europe
With the prospect of stiffer sanctions against Russia rattling confidence in Europe, investors will be looking to the United States and China to underpin the global economy. Wednesday's U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) reading and jobs data on Friday will help markets to judge the strength of the economy's rebound and the likely speed of the Federal Reserve's return to more conventional monetary policy. The Fed meets on Tuesday and Wednesday. "The U.S.-China story is looking more encouraging," said James Knightley, an economist with ING. "With the European Central Bank's moves, that should allow the euro zone economy to swing upwards but with a good six- to 12-month lag." Reuters

Satellite Images Show Russia Firing Into Ukraine
Satellite images released Sunday show what the U.S. government says is evidence that Russian forces are firing rockets and heavy artillery into Ukraine in support of pro-Russian rebels. The four black and white images, which were taken between July 21 and July 26, were released by the State Department and include captions from the Director of National Intelligence. They support the U.S. government’s recent claim that Russia appeared to be moving heavy artillery systems toward Ukraine. Russian officials have denied involvement in the conflict. One image shows the Ukrainian and Russian border area, and what are said to be the results of rocket fire, including impact craters on one side and blast marks on the other. MSNBC

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Gaza Conflict Seen Tipping Flug Toward Rate Cut
The only analyst to predict Israel central bank Governor Karnit Flug’s first interest-rate cut says it’s time to pare again. While 17 of 20 economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect the Bank of Israel to keep its benchmark rate at 0.75 percent for a fifth month today, Rafael Gozlan says the Gaza conflict weighing on the country’s economy tips the balance toward a reduction to 0.5 percent. “You can’t completely ignore the effect of the security incidents,” Gozlan, chief economist at Israel Brokerage & Investments Ltd. in Tel Aviv, said by phone July 24. “They come at a time when there is weakness in consumption and inflation, and therefore could push these down still further.” Bloomberg

Obama: US Worried About Worsening Gaza Conditions
President Barack Obama is telling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the United States is growing more concerned about the rising number of civilian deaths in the Gaza war that is entering its third week. The White House says Obama and Netanyahu spoke Sunday about the ongoing violence in the region and the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza. Obama also reiterated that Israel has a right to defend itself and condemned Hamas' rocket attacks. Obama says a lasting peace will ultimately require a demilitarized Gaza and dismantling of terror groups. The U.S. president is also pushing for an immediate, unconditional cease-fire that would allow Israeli and Palestinian civilians to return to normalcy. Las Vegas Sun

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In Phone Call With Netanyahu, Obama Stresses Need For 'Immediate' Gaza Cease-Fire
An immediate and unconditional ceasefire ending Israel's assault on Hamas is a "clear strategic imperative" to Israel, US President Barack Obama told Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu in a phone call on Sunday. While the conversation focused on the immediate concerns of the United States, the president also discussed the broader implications of Israel's operation in Gaza, Protective Edge, now over two weeks old and burdened with a mounting death toll, both within the Israel Defense Forces and the civilian population of Gaza. Jerusalem Post

US Rejects Criticism Of Kerry
The US has rejected Israeli criticism directed at Secretary of State John Kerry and his efforts to achieve a lasting ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. According to a senior US official, the draft proposal given on Friday to the cabinet was based on a combination of the 2014 Egyptian plan and the 2012 ceasefire plan. The new element in the draft was that the US would contribute $47 million in humanitarian assistance and guarantees from EU and other international players to maintain the peace and honor the cease-fire. “There was no Kerry plan,” the senior US official said. “There was a concept based on the Egyptian cease-fire plans that Israel had signed off on.” Jerusalem Post

Brain Cells Can Suppress Appetite
Scientists have discovered a central hub of brain cells that may put the brakes on a desire to eat, a study in mice shows. And switching on these neurons can stop feeding immediately, according to the Nature Neurosciences report. Researchers say the findings may one day contribute to therapies for obesity and anorexia. Experts say this sheds light on the many complex nerve circuits involved in appetite control. BBC

Banks Accused Of Rigging Silver Price
Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Bank of Nova Scotia have been accused of attempting to rig the price of silver, in a lawsuit filed in the US. The plaintiff alleges the banks, which set the price of silver each day, abused their position in the market. Deutsche Bank and HSBC have not commented on the filing, while Bank of Nova Scotia told Bloomberg news agency it would "vigorously defend" itself. The lawsuit follows similar filings in the gold price-fixing market. Earlier this year, Barclays Bank was fined £26m ($44m) by UK regulators after one of its traders was discovered attempting to fix the price of gold. BBC

Pope Francis In Emotional Peace Plea
Pope Francis made an emotional plea for peace on Sunday in an impromptu addition to his weekly Angelus address in St Peter's Square. Wrapping up his regular address to the faithful, the Argentinian-born pontiff spoke of the centenary of the outbreak of the first world war and said his thoughts were on the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine in particular. His voice appearing to crack with emotion as he broke off from his scripted remarks to make a direct appeal for fighting to end, he said: "Please stop, I ask you with all my heart, it's time to stop. Stop, please." Guardian

Paul Ryan Says Obama Administration Is 'Perpetuating Poverty'
The House of Representatives budget committee chairman, Paul Ryan, on Sunday accused the Obama administration of “perpetuating poverty” with a benefits programme that does not help the poor find a way to a better life. Expanding on the anti-poverty programme he proposed this week, the Wisconsin Republican said the way benefits are currently administered was “counterproductive” and told NBC’s Meet the Press that people affected by poverty needed individual solutions at a local level. “Poverty is a complicated problem and it needs to be customised,” he said. Guardain

British Diplomats Attacked During Evacuation From Libyan Embassy
A convoy evacuating British diplomats from the civil war beginning to engulf the Libyan capital Tripoli came under fire in a botched car-jacking attempt, officials said on Sunday. The convoy had been ordered to take diplomats not regarded as vital to current operations to neighbouring Tunisia as Libya succumbs to fighting between armed factions. The American embassy was evacuated en masse on Saturday under substantial air cover from fighter jets and military transport planes carrying marines. Telegraph

Hamas And North Korea In Secret Arms Deal
Hamas militants are attempting to negotiate a new arms deal with North Korea for missiles and communications equipment that will allow them to maintain their offensive against Israel, according to Western security sources. Security officials say the deal between Hamas and North Korea is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and is being handled by a Lebanese-based trading company with close ties to the militant Palestinian organisation based in east Beirut. Telegraph

UN Renews Appeal For Humanitarian Ceasefire Leading To political Talks
Welcoming the broadly observed 12-hour humanitarian pause in the Gaza conflict, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon renewed his appeal to all parties to declare a week-long ceasefire as a prelude to restarting political negotiations. A statement issued yesterday by Mr. Ban's spokesperson noted that there were countless images of Gazans trying to return to their daily lives while taking care of their wounded and attending to their dead during the pause, which ended on Saturday. “These images make it clear that we owe to the people of both Israel and Gaza our renewed effort to consolidate this pause in fighting into a more sustainable ceasefire,” said the statement. UN News

MH17: Black Box Data Shows Plane Hit By Missile
Data from a black box from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 indicates the airplane was shot down by a missile, a European air safety official said. The data is consistent with the plane being hit by shrapnel from a missile explosion, the official, whose name wasn't reported, told CBS News. "It did what it was designed to do," the official said of the suspected ground-to-air missile, "bring down airplanes." The Boeing 777 was allegedly shot out of the sky July 19 over restive eastern Ukraine. The wreckage, including the bodies of 298 passengers and crew members, was strewn over several miles near Donetsk. UPI

Hamas Agrees To 24-Hour Truce; U.N. Appealing To Israel
The United Nations appealed to Israel on Sunday to accept a 24-hour cease-fire agreed to by Hamas. Israel and Hamas hadn't been able to come to an agreement over the weekend on a potential 24-hour cease-fire as a rocket from Gaza killed one Israeli soldier in the 19th day of fighting. A 12-hour truce between the two sides expired at 8 p.m. local time Saturday, or 1 p.m. ET. Israel agreed to a four-hour extension of the cease-fire, but at the conclusion of the 12-hour period, rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel. A second truce, for 24 hours, was proposed by the United Nations and Israel agreed as long as it could continue destroying tunnels leading from Gaza into Israel. UPI

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