Tuesday, June 23, 2015

US Senate Revives Obama Trade Agenda

US Senate Revives Obama Trade Agenda

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The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to once again advance legislation facilitating the approval of two blockbuster trade pacts spanning the Atlantic and the Pacific. The procedural 60-37 vote revives President Barack Obama’s trade agenda, which had been dealt a severe blow when Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which is often called "fast track," stalled on Capitol Hill earlier this month. “This is a very big vote. It’s an important moment for the...

Tom Holland named as next Spider-Man 

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The 19-year-old star of The Impossible and Wolf Hall will swing into action as New York’s favourite super-son with a cameo in Captain America: Civil War
Tom Holland, of Kingston upon Thames, Surrey will be the next actor to play New York’s favourite web-slinging son, Spider-Man, according to Variety.
Holland, who co-starred with Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor in Boxing Day tsunami drama The Impossible, was one of six teenage actors being considered for the role, three of whom were British. Among those he swung ahead of was rumoured front-runner Asa Butterfield, star of Hugo and Ender’s Game.
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Activist's conviction to be quashed after undercover officer testified at trial 

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Michael Gracia to win appeal against guilty verdict for assaulting a police officer after co-defendant at original case used fake ID to appear in court
The criminal conviction of a campaigner is to be quashed after prosecutors admitted an undercover police officer gave evidence in a court case using a fake identity.
Michael Gracia’s conviction for assaulting an officer during a pro-cycling demonstration is to be overturned as prosecutors conceded one of the co-defendants at his original trial was working undercover for the police. 
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Meet the Newest 'Spider-Man' Tom Holland

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And we have our new Spider-Man -- Tom Holland.

Jailed Venezuela opposition leader Lopez ends hunger strike

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CARACAS (Reuters) - Jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez ended a 30-day hunger strike on Tuesday after one of his demands, that a date be set for this year's parliamentary election, was met.
  

Britain Holds Rwanda Spy Chief on Spanish War Crimes Charges 

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The Rwandan intelligence chief, Karenzi Karake, is wanted on war crimes charges involving genocide and the killing of Spanish aid workers in the 1990s.
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White House to Release Review of Hostage Policies

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The White House will release a long-awaited review of U.S. hostage policy on Wednesday, spokesman Josh Earnest confirmed Tuesday.
Earnest said the report would include a policy directive and an executive order from President Obama, months after the White House ordered the review in response to several brutal murders of Western hostages by the terror group the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, or ISIS.
At Tuesday’s press briefing, Earnest confirmed several media outlets’ reporting that the report would be released, but refused to offer details on what it does—and does not—specifically change. Families of some citizens held hostage, Earnest said, would be meeting with members of the Obama Administration who had worked on the report on Tuesday in an effort to “give them the opportunity to see for themselves the contents of the report.”
“Our goals entering into this process was to both better integrate the variety of federal government resources dedicated to securing the safe return of American hostages,” Earnest said Tuesday. “And also to improve communication with families of those held captive overseas.”
Though Earnest wouldn’t go into detail, several media outlets have already reported details of the coming directive and report. According to Foreign Policy, which reported the story on Monday, the new policy would make it clear that families should not fear prosecution for paying ransoms.
The Wall Street Journal says the White House will also establish an office to ease communication between the government and families of American hostages based at the Federal Bureau of Investigations known as thr “hostage recovery fusion cell.”
The New York Times reports that though the directive will not backtrack on the U.S.’s long-held “no-concessions” policy to keep funds out of the hands of terror groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS, it will clarify that family members and the government can communicate and negotiate with groups holding Americans hostage.
Elaine Weinstein, whose husband Warren was taken hostage by Al-Qeada and killed in an American drone strike, released a statement Tuesday calling their interactions with the government while Warren was held hostage “inconsistent at best and utterly disappointing.”
“This review will not bring Warren back, she said. “It is our most sincere hope that it was conducted fully and frankly so the U.S. Government can have an honest conversation about the areas where it falls short. Our benchmark for this review’s success will be the actions arising from it more than its specific findings.”
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Ex-Dominican anti-drug official gets U.S. prison time for drug scheme

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former top official of the Dominican Republic's main counter-drug agency was sentenced on Tuesday to four years in a U.S. prison after pleading guilty to conspiring with drug traffickers to transport cocaine into the United States.
  

ISIS defeat could offer blueprint for success

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ISIS has been forced from one of its stronghold outposts, a key access point to its self-declared capital, where it was entrenched for two years. And the defeat along a vital stretch of terrain could be a potential blueprint for more military successes against the militants.
    


State Department: ISIS new leader among terror groups

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In the eyes of the State Department, ISIS is beating al Qaeda at being the world's leading terrorist group.
    


U.S. sending tanks and armor to Europe

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The U.S. military will be sending dozens of tanks, Bradley armored fighting vehicles and self-propelled howitzers to allied countries in the Baltics and Eastern Europe in response to Russian actions in the Ukraine, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Tuesday.
    


Key Issues, and What Lies Ahead, for Obama's Trade Agenda

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Key issues, and what lies ahead, for Obama's trade agenda
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Isis in Syria: Militants carry out threat to destroy Unesco-protected historical sites as they are forced to retreat from Palmyra

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Isis has begun carrying out its threat to destroy structures in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, blowing up at least two monuments at the Unesco-protected site as Syrian government troops made advances on the Islamist’s positions.

ISIS fighter is executed for spreading Aids after he donated blood in Syria and passed on the virus to at least one other Islamist and a 15-year-old Yazidi sex slave

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The unnamed Indonesian blood donor is understood to have sparked panic among ISIS fighters based in Shaddadi, south Hasaka province, when it emerged he was suffering from Aids.

Senators fear car 'recall fatigue'

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US senators warn of car 'recall fatigue' as they grill regulators and carmakers about progress in the faulty airbag recall.

OPM Chief: Contractor's Credential Used to Breach System

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OPM chief: Hacker used contractor's credential to break into agency's database

Islamic State urges followers to escalate attacks in Ramadan

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CAIRO/AMMAN (Reuters) - Islamic State urged its followers on Tuesday to escalate attacks against Christians, Shi'ites and Sunni Muslims fighting with a U.S.-led coalition against the ultra-radical group.
  

Former Ballet Star Albert Evans Dead at 46

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Albert Evans, former New York City Ballet star, dead at 46 after short illness

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