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Islamic State seen as potent force a year after caliphate declaration: Pentagon

Black flag belonging to the Islamic State is seen near the Syrian town of Kobani, as pictured from the Turkish-Syrian border near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa provinceBy David Alexander WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A year after Islamic State declared a caliphate on territory seized in Iraq and Syria, the al Qaeda splinter group faces military pressure from a U.S.-led coalition but remains a potent force holding key cities, the Pentagon said on Monday. Army Colonel Steve Warren, a Defense Department spokesman, said the militant group has lost a quarter of the land it controlled at the height of its expansion and has broken and run on several occasions in northern Syria in the face of an offensive by Kurdish-led forces.

Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 15:33:06 -0400
Car bomb in Yemeni capital hits mourners, dozens wounded
A car bomb claimed by Islamic State exploded in the Yemeni capital Sanaa overnight, medics said, wounding at least 28 people gathered to mourn another attack earlier this month. In a new sign that three months of war in Yemen was ratcheting up, the country's military spokesman said its forces had launched a Scud missile at a Saudi military base on Tuesday. A Saudi-led military alliance has been bombing Yemen's dominant Houthi group and its allies in the army to dislodge them from the capital and restore the exiled president.
Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:30:54 -0400
Car bomb attack kills Egypt's top public prosecutor

Policemen investigate the site of a car bomb attack on the convoy of Egyptian public prosecutor Hisham Barakat near his house at Heliopolis district in CairoBy Ahmed Hassan and Omar Fahmy CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's top public prosecutor was killed by a car bomb attack on his convoy on Monday, the most senior state official to die at the hands of militants since the toppling of an Islamist president two years ago. Security sources said a bomb in a parked car was remotely detonated as Hisham Barakat's motorcade left his home, after saying earlier a car bomber had rammed into the convoy. Judges and other senior officials have increasingly been targeted by radical Islamists opposed to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and angered by hefty prison sentences imposed on members of the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 13:46:47 -0400
French beheading suspect denies jihad motivation
The man being held in France under suspicion of beheading his boss and trying to blow up a chemicals plant has told investigators there was no religious motivation behind the attack, a source close to the inquiry said on Monday. The source said Yassin Salhi, 35, told investigators he was not a jihadist and repeated earlier statements that he committed the act outside the southeast city of Lyon on Friday after a row with his wife the day before and his boss a few days earlier. The severed head of his boss was found hanging on the fence of a site belonging to U.S-based gas and chemicals company Air Products, next to flags bearing professions of the Muslim faith.
Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 12:53:02 -0400
U.S. says absurd to suggest that it will cave in Iran talks

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at a hotel in ViennaBy Louis Charbonneau, John Irish and Arshad Mohammed VIENNA (Reuters) - The United States on Monday rejected criticism that world powers negotiating a nuclear agreement with Iran have been making too many compromises, saying it hoped to get a good deal but was not certain that was achievable. A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Vienna talks would continue past Tuesday's deadline for a comprehensive agreement intended to open the door to ending sanctions in exchange for limits on Iran's most sensitive nuclear activities for at least a decade. The West suspects Iran may be secretly developing technology that would allow it to build nuclear weapons, but Tehran says its program is for peaceful purposes only.

Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 14:44:01 -0400
NSA wiretapped two French finance ministers: Wikileaks

An illustration picture shows the logo of the U.S. National Security Agency on the display of an iPhone in BerlinThe U.S. National Security Agency wiretapped the communications of two successive French finance ministers and collected information on French export contracts, trade and budget talks, according to a report by WikiLeaks. The transparency website said the ministers targeted were Francois Baroin and Pierre Moscovici, who between them headed the finance ministry from 2011 to 2014. The allegations, published jointly with newspaper Liberation and online outlet Mediapart, came a week after Wikileaks reported that the NSA had spied on three French presidents from at least 2006 to May 2012, prompting the government to protest to Washington that such behavior between allies was unacceptable.

Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:32:32 -0400
Obama speaks to Cameron, Tunisian leader in attack aftermath
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is offering U.S. assistance to the investigation into the attack in Tunisia that killed 38 people at a beach resort.
Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:48:27 -0400
NBC to Donald Trump: You're fired

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump casts a shadow against papers he used while speaking to members of the City Club of Chicago, Monday, June 29, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)NEW YORK (AP) — NBC said Monday that it is ending its business relationship with mogul and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump because of comments he made about Mexican immigrants during the announcement of his campaign.

Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:47:15 -0400
Developer of $3.5B Bahamas megaresort files for bankruptcy
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — The developer of a $3.5 billion hotel-and-casino project under construction in the Bahamas announced Monday that it has filed for U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:46:23 -0400
Union sues US over hack, says agency had ample warning
WASHINGTON (AP) — The largest federal employee union filed a class action lawsuit Monday against the federal personnel office, its leaders and one of its contractors, arguing that negligence contributed to what government officials are calling one of the most damaging cyberthefts in U.S. history.
Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:43:50 -0400
U.S. top court rules against Obama administration over air pollution rule

Court observers and attorneys depart after decisions were handed down on the last day of the term at the U.S. Supreme Court building in WashingtonBy Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled the Obama administration should have considered compliance cost when it decided to limit emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants mainly from coal-fired power plants, a setback for the government that leaves the legal status of the regulation in limbo.     The court ruled in a 5-4 decision, with its five conservative justices in the majority, against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The rule stays in effect for the time being, with the case returning to an appeals court, which will decide whether or not it should be thrown out. "EPA is disappointed that the court did not uphold the rule, but this rule was issued more than three years ago, investments have been made and most plants are already well on their way to compliance," the agency said in a statement.

Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:35:17 -0400
Factbox: Questions remain on U.S. mercury rule after high court ruling
By Valerie Volcovici WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court said on Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency should have weighed the potential financial costs of compliance before imposing limits on emissions of mercury and other toxins from coal-fired power plants. The EPA and some academics said the outcome was not their worst case scenario. Richard Revesz, director of the Institute for Policy Integrity and dean emeritus of NYU Law School, said the court did not dispute the EPA argument that there are direct and ancillary benefits of the mercury restrictions, which the EPA said in projections after it issued its rule.
Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:34:25 -0400
Stars sign newly acquired goalie Niemi to 3-year contract
DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi used to live not far from Finnish countryman Kari Lehtonen. Now the pair will share a locker room in Dallas, faced with the persistent question of who will be the No. 1 goalie for the Stars, if they even have one.
Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:33:54 -0400
Top Asian News at 10:30 p.m. GMT
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Investigators in Taiwan were focusing Monday on the possibility that a cigarette butt or spark caused the blaze that burned 498 people, killing one, at a weekend water park party when colored powder sprayed from the stage caught fire. More than 400 people remained hospitalized, including 202 in serious condition, city officials said. A 20-year-old woman with burns to 90 percent of her body died after being taken off life support with her family's consent, said a hospital spokeswoman, who spoke anonymously because she wasn't authorized to speak publicly.
Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:33:17 -0400
As Kurds gain in Syria, Turkish govt ponders military action

FILE-In this Monday, June 15, 2015 file photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, Turkish soldiers run to their new positions next to the border fence in Akcakale, southeastern Turkey. As Kurdish rebels in northern Syrian rack up wins against the Islamic State group, Turkey’s press is once again abuzz with talk of plans for a long-debated intervention aimed at pushing the radical religious group back from its border, and outflanking any Kurdish attempt at creating a state along Turkey’s southern frontier. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, file)ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — As Kurdish rebels in northern Syria rack up wins against the Islamic State group, Turkish media is abuzz with talk of a long-debated military intervention to push the Islamic militants back from the Turkish border — a move that will also outflank any Kurdish attempts to create a state along Turkey's southern frontier.

Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:31:37 -0400
Yemeni forces launch Scud missile at Saudi Arabia: Yemen military spokesman
SANAA (Reuters) - Yemeni forces launched a Scud missile at a missile base in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, Yemeni state news agency Saba quoted the military's spokesman as saying. "The rocket units in our heroic armed forces today launched a Scud missile at the Al Sulayyil missile base in Riyadh province ... it comes as a response to the crimes of the brutal Saudi aggression," Brigadier General Sharaf Luqman said. (Reporting By Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by Noah Browning; Editing by Alan Crosby)
Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:30:54 -0400
Car bomb explodes near military hospital in Yemeni capital
SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A car bomb exploded behind a military hospital in the Yemeni capital on Monday, causing dozens of casualties including civilians, security officials said.
Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:24:21 -0400
British toll in Tunisia attack to rise to 'around 30'

Flower bouquets are seen at the site of a shooting attack on the beach in front of the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel in Port el Kantaoui, on the outskirts of Sousse south of the capital Tunis, on June 29, 2015The number of Britons killed in a gun massacre in Tunisia is expected to rise to "around 30", officials said on Monday, as a British military plane evacuated some of the injured. Prime Minister David Cameron promised to mount a "full investigation" into Friday's attack on a beach resort near the city of Sousse with 16 British detectives already in Tunisia to aid the police there. Hundreds more British police were sent to interview tourists who have been returning to Britain from Tunisia, some of whom might have witnessed the beach massacre claimed by the Islamic State group.

Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:23:25 -0400
EU's Tusk tells Tsipras no chance of bailout extension
European Council President Donald Tusk told Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday that he saw no willingness among member states to agree to Tsipras's request to an extension to bailout loans. "After consultations with the leaders, in the absence of new elements, I see no willingness to go against the positions expressed by finance ministers at their June 27 meeting," Tusk said in a letter seen by Reuters that was sent in reply to request from Tsipras for a one-month extension of credits. The letter reflected a closing of ranks by EU leaders after Tsipras called a referendum on the creditors' offer of cash for reforms and urging Greeks to reject it next Sunday.
Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:23:21 -0400
Puerto Rico to seek debt moratorium from bondholders

FILE- In this April 30, 2015, file photo, Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla delivers his budget address for the next fiscal year at the Capitol building in San Juan. Puerto Rico's governor believes the U.S. territory's $72 billion public debt is unpayable, his spokesman confirmed late Sunday, June 28, 2015, adding another blow to the international financial system already struggling with a possible default by Greece. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo, File)SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico's governor says he will create a financial team that will meet with bondholders and seek a moratorium on debt payments.

Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:22:29 -0400
Supertramp co-founder relishes role in 'service industry'

"To me, I look at my job very differently. I actually think of music as a service industry," Roger Hodgson saidRoger Hodgson no longer packs stadiums and doesn't even use the name of his old band, Supertramp, but that doesn't bother him. As his estranged former co-frontman Rick Davies keeps playing as Supertramp, Hodgson has been touring consistently, but more quietly, for the past 15 years and says he feels more comfortable on the smaller stages. "To be honest, I don't really pay much attention to what's happening in the music or entertainment industry," he told AFP as he embarked on his latest tour that started in Germany and includes 14 dates in Canada, where he and Supertramp have been especially popular.

Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:14:23 -0400
Protected Florida mangroves razed for boat show

Handout of red and black mangrove in MiamiBy Zachary Fagenson MIAMI, Fla. (Reuters) - New revelations that a long strip of protected mangrove trees were illegally razed amid preparations for the 2016 Miami International Boat Show has outraged Florida environmentalists. The lost trees, critical to the marine ecosystem, were hacked away in mid-May by a Miami city contractor in advance of the five-day show expected to draw about 100,000 attendees and 1,500 boats. Environmental activists said in a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that staging the show in an environmentally sensitive region could violate a number of federal laws including the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act.

Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:13:12 -0400
Four Israelis hurt after shots fired at car in West Bank: security sources

Israeli soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Bethlehem on June 29, 2015Four Israelis were wounded, one seriously, when their car came under fire on a road near the West Bank settlement of Shvut Rachel on Monday, Israeli security sources said. One of them was in a serious condition, the sources said. The shots were fired at a crossroads near the settlement in the north of the West Bank.

Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:52:56 -0400
Boston 2024 Olympics organizers update $4.6B bid

Boston 2024 CEO Rich Davey speaks during the release of the Boston 2024 Partnership's updated plans for the Olympic and Paralympic games at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Monday, June 29, 2015, in Boston. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)BOSTON (AP) — The group trying to bring the 2024 Olympics to Boston released the most detailed look yet at its bid for the Summer Games on Monday, unveiling a $4.6 billion plan it says would create thousands of jobs and housing units, expand the city's tax base and leave behind a vastly-improved regional transit system — all with a $210 million surplus.

Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:49:45 -0400
Canada slaps new sanctions on Russian biker gang over Ukraine

Members of the Night Wolves rode down en masse to Ukraine's Crimea peninsula just after it was annexed by Russia in March 2014 and members have also fought with pro-Russian separatists in eastern UkraineCanada announced Monday fresh sanctions on Russia over its support for rebels in Ukraine, targeting youth leaders, the pro-Moscow Night Wolves motorcycle club and several companies. Ottawa imposed a ban on the import and export of goods from Crimea in this 15th round of penalties in collaboration with allies. "Until there is real peace, until occupying forces are withdrawn, and until Ukraine's territorial sovereignty is restored, there must be ongoing consequences for President Putin's regime," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement.

Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:43:28 -0400
Australia, NZ to play 1st day-night test with pink ball
ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — Australia and New Zealand will play the first day-night test cricket match when the southern hemisphere rivals meet in the last match of a three-game series in November.
Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:40:32 -0400
US resuming aid to Bahrain military, ally against IS
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. State Department says it is resuming aid to the military in Bahrain, which has been withheld since Bahrain cracked down on demonstrations in 2011.
Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:33:46 -0400
Top Asian News at 9:30 p.m. GMT
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Investigators in Taiwan were focusing Monday on the possibility that a cigarette butt or spark caused the blaze that burned 498 people, killing one, at a weekend water park party when colored powder sprayed from the stage caught fire. More than 400 people remained hospitalized, including 202 in serious condition, city officials said. A 20-year-old woman with burns to 90 percent of her body died after being taken off life support with her family's consent, said a hospital spokeswoman, who spoke anonymously because she wasn't authorized to speak publicly.
Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:33:12 -0400
Fedorov, Lidstrom, Pronger among new Hall of Famers

Russian legend Sergei Fedorov and star defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Pronger and Phil Housley were among seven people named as electees to the Hockey Hall of FameToronto (Canada) (AFP) - Russian legend Sergei Fedorov and star defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Pronger and Phil Housley were among seven people named Monday as electees to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:24:11 -0400
Dutch FA terminates Hiddink's contract as coach
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Dutch football federation terminated the contract of national team coach Guus Hiddink on Monday, ending his second stint in charge after just one disappointing season.
Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:21:52 -0400
Kerry says 'too early' to tell if Iran deal sealed

Iran denies it is trying to produce atomic weapons and insists the Bushehr reactor and its other nuclear facilities are purely for peaceful energy needsUS Secretary of State John Kerry warned Monday it was too soon to tell if a nuclear deal with Iran is possible as he awaited the return of Iran's foreign minister from consultations in Tehran. "We're just working and it's too early to make any judgements," Kerry told reporters in Vienna as he met with Yukiya Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The UN watchdog will have a crucial role in verifying Iran's claims that its nuclear programme is purely peaceful and also to make sure it does not cheat in the future.

Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:18:53 -0400
Kings terminate Richards for contract violation

Mike Richards of the Los Angeles Kings skates against the New York Rangers on March 24, 2015 at Madison Square Garden in New York CityMike Richards, a center who helped Canada win Olympic gold and the Los Angeles Kings capture two Stanley Cups, had his National Hockey League contract terminated Monday by the Kings. "The Los Angeles Kings today have exercised the team's right to terminate the contract of Mike Richards for a material breach of the requirements of his Standard Player's Contract," the Kings said in a statement. Richards, 30, helped Canada take the gold medal on home ice at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and was part of the Kings' NHL title teams in 2012 and 2014.

Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:16:19 -0400
Jamaica anti-doping agency starts collecting blood samples
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Jamaica's anti-doping agency announced Monday that it has started collecting blood samples to test athletes on the Caribbean island that produces the world's dominant sprinters.
Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:13:56 -0400
Four Israelis wounded in suspected Palestinian West Bank shooting
A gunman opened fire at a group of Israelis near a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank on Monday, the Israeli military said, in a suspected Palestinian drive-by attack. A spokesman for Israel's ambulance service Magen David Adom said medics were treating four people in their twenties, one of them badly wounded. Earlier on Monday, police said a Palestinian woman stabbed and wounded an Israeli soldier at a crossing between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:12:27 -0400
Obama, Rousseff aim to show they've moved past spy scandal

FILE - In this April 11, 2015, file photo, U.S. President Barack Obama, right, and Brazilian President Dilma Vana Rousseff shake hands during their bilateral meeting at the Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Panama. Rousseff visits Washington and will meet with Obama on June 29 and 30. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and Brazilian leader Dilma Rousseff will aim to show they have smoothed over tensions sparked by a spying scandal, as they open two days of talks at the White House Monday.

Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:11:35 -0400
Italy begins recovery of 800 migrant bodies from Med shipwreck

Rescued migrants walk along the quay after disembarking from the Italian Navy vessel Bettica as they arrive in the Sicilian harbour of Augusta on April 22, 2015The Italian navy on Monday said it had begun efforts to recover the bodies of some 800 migrants killed in a shipwreck in the Mediterranean in April, as authorities rescued another 4,400 people making the dangerous sea journey to Europe. The civil war in Syria is also seen as being behind a surge in asylum-seekers arriving in Greece, where over 80,000 migrants have arrived this year, three quarters of them on boats which mostly leave from Turkey.

Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:09:59 -0400
Spanish royals in Mexico on 1st state visit to Latin America

Spain's King Felipe VI, center, and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto, walk out to review an honor guard during a welcoming ceremony at the Campo Marte military field in Mexico City, Monday, June 29, 2015. The Spanish royals are in Mexico for an official four-day visit. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)MEXICO CITY (AP) — The king and queen of Spain are making their first state visit to Latin America with a three-day trip to Mexico.

Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:08:33 -0400
Tourists on holiday coping with Greece's financial crisis

Tourists walk trough the ancient Acropolis hill, with the ruins of the fifth century BC Parthenon temple on the background in Athens, Monday, June 29, 2015. Anxious Greeks lined up at ATMs as they gradually began dispensing cash again on the first day of capital controls imposed in a dramatic twist in Greece's five-year financial saga. Banks will remain shut until next Monday, and a daily limit of 60 euros ($67) has been placed on cash withdrawals from ATMs. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)NEW YORK (AP) — Tourists on holiday in Greece offered advice to others Monday: Bring extra euros.

Date Posted : Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:02:57 -0400
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