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Lawmakers struggle to seal $225M Iron Dome package

Yahoo - DRC - 29 July, 2014 - 16:00

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats and Republicans in Congress vowed urgent support Tuesday for a $225 million missile defense package for Israel, boosting the likelihood that legislation will clear Congress before lawmakers begin a monthlong vacation at week's end.

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House panel condemns Obama for prisoner swap

Yahoo - DRC - 29 July, 2014 - 15:58
WASHINGTON (AP) — A bitterly divided House panel on Tuesday voted to condemn President Barack Obama for the swap of five Taliban leaders for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held prisoner in Afghanistan for five years.
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U.S. judge says Kurdish tanker near Texas out of court's jurisdiction

Yahoo - DRC - 29 July, 2014 - 15:56
HOUSTON (Reuters) - A U.S. judge said on Tuesday her court "has no jurisdiction" over a tanker near Texas loaded with Kurdish crude oil because it is some 60 miles offshore, meaning the order she issued earlier to seize the $100 million (59 million pounds) cargo cannot be enforced at this time. Federal magistrate Nancy K. Johnson said the dispute between Iraq's central government and the Regional Government of Kurdistan should be resolved in Iraq. (Reporting By Anna Driver and Kristen Hays; Editing by Terry Wade)
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China regulator announces anti-monopoly probe of Microsoft

Yahoo - DRC - 29 July, 2014 - 15:51

By Paul Carsten BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese regulator is conducting an anti-monopoly investigation into Microsoft Corp over its Windows operating system, in the latest of a growing number of competition probes that have unnerved Western firms in China. China's State Administration for Industry & Commerce (SAIC) is also investigating a Microsoft vice president and senior managers, and has made copies of the firm's financial statements and contracts, the agency said on its website on Tuesday. It said Microsoft, which has struggled to make inroads in China due to rampant piracy, has not fully disclosed information about Windows and its Office software suite. Microsoft is one of the biggest U.S. companies to fall under the eye of Chinese regulators as they ramp up their oversight in an apparent attempt to protect local companies and customers.

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House to vote on slimmed-down bill for border

Yahoo - DRC - 29 July, 2014 - 15:48

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans unveiled a slimmed-down bill Tuesday to address the immigration crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border by sending in National Guard troops and speeding migrant youths back home. The election-year measure would allow Republicans to say they tried to solve the humanitarian problem in South Texas, even though it stands no chance of becoming law.

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Appeals court rejects tax challenge to Obamacare

Yahoo - DRC - 29 July, 2014 - 15:48
WASHINGTON (AP) — Rejecting the latest effort to sidetrack "Obamacare," a federal appeals court turned away a challenge by a conservative group that said Congress imposed new taxes unconstitutionally when it created the Affordable Care Act.
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Highway, bridge money at risk: Senate to vote

Yahoo - DRC - 29 July, 2014 - 15:33

WASHINGTON (AP) — Racing to adjourn for the summer, the Senate scheduled major votes Tuesday to keep federal highway funds flowing across the nation — billions of dollars to avert layoffs for construction workers and shutdowns of road and bridge projects just before the November elections.

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Immigration debate roils politics in ... Maine?

Yahoo - DRC - 29 July, 2014 - 15:32

LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — In the whitest U.S. state, thousands of miles from the Mexican border, the debate over immigration is becoming a central issue in one of the nation's most closely watched governor's races.

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Four California teens charged in murder of China graduate student

Yahoo - DRC - 29 July, 2014 - 15:30
By Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Four teenagers were charged with capital murder on Tuesday in the beating death of a graduate student from China not far from the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles, prosecutors said. Two of the suspects, 19-year-old Jonathan Del Carmen and Andrew Garcia, 18, could face the death penalty if they are found guilty at trial in the high-profile case. The other two suspects, aged 16 and 17, were also charged with first-degree murder but will not face the death penalty if they are convicted because they are minors, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said.
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EU and U.S. announce new sanctions on Russia over Ukraine

Yahoo - DRC - 29 July, 2014 - 15:28

By Justyna Pawlak and Eric Beech BRUSSELS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The European Union and the United States on Tuesday announced further sanctions against Russia, targeting its energy, banking and defence sectors in the strongest international action yet over Moscow's support for rebels in eastern Ukraine. The measures mark the start of a new phase in the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the Cold War, which worsened dramatically after the downing of Malaysian flight MH17 over rebel-held territory on July 17 by what Western countries say was a Russian-supplied missile. "If Russia continues on this current path, the costs on Russia will continue to grow," President Barack Obama said in Washington. "Russia's actions in Ukraine and the sanctions that we've already imposed have made a weak Russian economy even weaker," he said.

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Pfizer leaves investors guessing on intentions for Astra

Yahoo - DRC - 29 July, 2014 - 15:27

Pfizer Inc, which in May abandoned its $118 billion bid for AstraZeneca Plc, on Tuesday left investors guessing whether it would renew its pursuit of its British rival, but said it was considering other deals. Under UK takeover rules, AstraZeneca can attempt to re-engage with Pfizer in August, and Pfizer can make another run at AstraZeneca in November. Pfizer officials on Tuesday gave no hints of whether they would do so, although Chief Executive Ian Read said Pfizer is not currently "doing any work on AstraZeneca" because of a six-month quiet period imposed by U.K. regulators. Pfizer officially gave up its six-month quest to buy AstraZeneca after its final bid was rejected on May 26.

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Canada intends to impose more sanctions on Russia - prime minister

Yahoo - DRC - 29 July, 2014 - 15:27
Canada said on Tuesday it plans to impose additional sanctions on Russia in the coming days, in close coordination with partners in the United States and Europe. The sanctions will be in addition to those announced last week on a broad range of Russian companies and banks, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement. "In the wake of continued aggression by Russia, which includes the ongoing supply of logistical support and weapons systems to agents of the Putin regime in eastern Ukraine, Canada is announcing its intent to once again increase economic and political pressure, in the coming days, by imposing additional sanctions on the regime and those closest to it," Harper said. Harper made the statement as U.S. President Barack Obama said the United States has expanded sanctions against Russia over its support for rebels in eastern Ukraine.
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Israel intensifies Gaza assault, Egyptians revise truce plan

Yahoo - DRC - 29 July, 2014 - 15:25

By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Dan Williams GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel knocked out Gaza's only power plant and pounded dozens of other high-profile targets on Tuesday, while Egyptian mediators prepared a revised proposal for halting its war with Islamist guerrillas in the enclave. Israel's Channel Two TV said progress was being made on such a deal in Cairo, where a Palestinian delegation is expected later on Tuesday, although the station retracted an earlier report that a truce had already been provisionally agreed. Health officials said at least 85 Palestinians died in some of heaviest bombardments from air, sea and land since Israel's offensive began on July 8 in response to rocket salvoes fired by Gaza's dominant Hamas Islamists and their guerrilla allies. UNRWA, the main U.N. relief agency in Gaza, said it was at "breaking point" with more than 200,000 Palestinians having taken shelter in its schools and buildings following calls by Israel for civilians to evacuate whole neighbourhoods before military operations.

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Democrats have million-dollar day on impeachment

Yahoo - DRC - 29 July, 2014 - 15:23

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats are cashing in on chatter that Republicans are plotting to impeach President Barack Obama, raising $1 million on Monday alone, their campaign chief said Tuesday. Republicans insisted such talk was bogus.

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'Sesame Street' aims to teach lesson to Times Square Elmo

Yahoo - DRC - 29 July, 2014 - 15:21

By Laila Kearney NEW YORK (Reuters) - Elmo and Cookie Monster have long delighted young viewers on TV's "Sesame Street," but the recent antics of New York street performers dressed as the beloved characters have drawn the ire of city officials and now the show's producers. Sesame Workshop, which owns the rights to Big Bird, Ernie and the assorted puppet monsters on the 45-year-old programme, said on Tuesday it was drafting plans to stop performers who dress up as the characters from appearing in Times Square, where they pose for photos with tourists and then demand tips. "Sesame Workshop has not authorized the appearance of any Sesame Street costumed characters on public streets in any city," said the nonprofit group that produces the internationally broadcast children's programme. "We care about our fans and the image of our brand and, like everyone else, we care about public safety on our streets." The statement came days after a man dressed as Spider-Man was arrested in Times Square for punching a police officer who scolded him for demanding money from tourists.

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France names ex-finance minister Moscovici as EU commissioner candidate

Yahoo - DRC - 29 July, 2014 - 15:19

President Francois Hollande formally proposed his former finance minister Pierre Moscovici on Tuesday to be France's representative in the next European Commission which takes office later this year. In a letter to the Commission's president-elect, Jean-Claude Juncker, Hollande did not say which job he wanted Moscovici to get, but French officials have made no secret that Paris is angling for a major economic portfolio. Each of the 28 nations of the European Union has a commissioner and they must nominate their candidates by the end of July.

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Sierra Leone's top Ebola doctor dies from virus

Yahoo - DRC - 29 July, 2014 - 15:10
By Umaru Fofana and Adam Bailes FREETOWN (Reuters) - The doctor leading Sierra Leone's fight against the worst Ebola outbreak on record died from the virus on Tuesday, the country's chief medical officer said. The death of Sheik Umar Khan, who was credited with treating more than 100 patients, follows those of dozens of local health workers and the infection of two American medics in neighbouring Liberia, highlighting the dangers faced by staff trying to halt the disease's spread across West Africa. Ebola is believed to have killed 672 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since the outbreak began in February, according to the World Health Organisation. The contagious disease, which has no known cure, has symptoms that include vomiting, diarrhoea and internal and external bleeding.
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Cameroon fires two army officers after Boko Haram raids

Yahoo - DRC - 29 July, 2014 - 15:06
President Paul Biya on Tuesday dismissed two senior army officers in Cameroon's far north following Boko Haram attacks in which at least seven people were killed and the wife of a senior official was kidnapped. Militants of the Nigerian Islamist group seized the wife of Cameroon's vice prime minister and killed at least three people on Sunday in an attack in the northern town of Kolofata involving more than 200 assailants. According to the decree, announced over state radio, Colonel Youssa Gedeon, commander of the Gendarmerie Legion in the north, and Lieutenant-Colonel Justin Ngonga, commander of the 34th motorised infantry battalion in the same region, were both dismissed. Both officers were at the forefront of Cameroon's response to the rising number of Boko Haram attacks in the region.
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Iraq gets U.S. to seize $100 million Kurdish oil cargo off Texas

Yahoo - DRC - 29 July, 2014 - 15:05

By Anna Driver and Ahmed Rasheed HOUSTON/BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq scrambled to gain control of a cargo of Kurdish oil worth $100 million (59 million pounds) off the Texas coast on Tuesday after a U.S. judge ordered its seizure in a bid by Baghdad to halt oil sales by the autonomous region of Kurdistan. A U.S. magistrate overnight approved a request from Baghdad's lawyers on Monday that laid claim to the oil, saying the cargo of some 1 million barrels of crude from Iraqi Kurdistan was sold without its permission. Oil sales are seen as central to Kurdish dreams of independence, which Baghdad opposes, and the latest dispute over exports reflects Iraqi Kurds’ emboldened steps toward seizing greater political and economic autonomy. While the rulers of the country’s northern Kurdish enclave have long aspired to independence, their position has strengthened in recent months as Kurdish Peshmerga troops have outperformed Iraqi soldiers against Islamist militants.

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East Ukraine rebels deny threat to ban OSCE from crash site

Yahoo - DRC - 29 July, 2014 - 14:59
Rebels in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday denied they had threatened to ban the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) from the crash site of Malaysian flight MH17. "The DNR government has long been working effectively with the OSCE mission," a statement said, adding that areas of cooperation included investigation into the plane crash and ceasefire talks. Earlier the rebels issued a statement saying they were going to halt cooperation with the OSCE, until now the main body tasked with negotiating access to the crash site for international experts, saying it was serving U.S. and Ukrainian interests. The OSCE did not immediately comment.
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