Friday, July 3, 2015

'From The G-Man' Holiday Well-Wishes

Be safe and enjoy. 

The President Speaks on the Economy in La Crosse, Wisconsin

President Obama delivers remarks on the progress we've made over the past six years at University of Wisconsin.

West Wing Week: 07/03/15

This week, the President signed a bipartisan trade deal, welcomed the President of Brazil to the White House--and showed her one of our national treasures--hosted 50 girls in green on the South Lawn for a campout to celebrate the great outdoors, answered questions about healthcare in Tennessee and online, and traveled to Wisconsin to announce new overtime protections for hard-working Americans. That's June 26th to July 2nd or, "Amazing Grace."

Former Governor Rick Perry on his Economic Plan

2016 Republican presidential candidate former Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) lays out his economic plan in a National Press Club luncheon address and responds to questions from an invited audience.

Government Debt in Greece and Puerto Rico

Panelists talked about the debt crises in Greece and Puerto Ricoand the effects they could have on the Eurozone and the U.S. economies. Though the countries face similar economic challenges, the panelists noted how Greece’s position as a sovereign state and Puerto Rico’s position as a U.S. territory would affect their outcomes. Financial consultant Bert Ely predicted that Greece would leave the Eurozone and eventually be forced to leave the European Union. Panelists agreed that Congress needs to take a more active role in finding a solution for Puerto Rico’s crisis

“A Tale of Two Debt Crises: Is Puerto Rico America’s Greece?” was held at the American Enterprise Institute. 

Source: C-Span 

"Flashback Friday": George W. Bush Bloopers

Today in History: July 3rd

Tired EMS Workers a Prescription for Danger on the Roads, Experts Say

EMS driver fatigue is an issue of growing concern in the industry, with some calling for federal standards.

Whole Foods CEOs Apologize for Overcharging

Bernie Sanders an Unlikely Source of Competition for Hillary Clinton

The Vermont senator has been drawing huge crowds, raising big money and climbing in the polls.

The Internet Is Now Officially Too Big as IP Addresses Run Out

The Internet as we know it is now officially too big for its britches.

The organization that assigns IP addresses in North America — the numbers that identify every computer, smartphone and device connected to the Internet — ran out of numbers overnight Wednesday. It's not the end of the world, because there's a newer, more robust system rolling out, but it's a milestone in our shared online history, nonetheless.

IP addresses are the four-number strings like that you'll sometimes see in your browser's address bar, in the guts of your smartphone's system settings, or that you might be asked to type in to your cable modem or WiFi router. That address,, is one of many that should take you to

It's like the highway system. If you're driving through New York, you might take Interstate 95 or I-190 or I-287. But in plain English, it's all the New York State Thruway. 

Full article available here: Too Big!

Source: NBC News

Cuomo Urges New Yorkers to be Alert, Terror Warning Issued for July 4 Weekend

Governor Directs Office of Emergency
Management to Enhance Monitoring Operations 

Governor Andrew Cuomo today directed the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Office of Emergency Management to enhance monitoring of celebrations and events on Saturday, July 4 in light of the recent terror warning issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Governor additionally urged New Yorkers to be alert and aware of any potential suspicious activity during the holiday weekend.

“We are keenly aware that New York State remains a top target for terrorists,” Governor Cuomo said. 

“In response to the warning by the federal government, New York State is taking steps to increase monitoring and communication with our local, state, and federal emergency management and law enforcement partners through the holiday weekend. As we celebrate with family and friends this Independence Day, I urge all New Yorkers to not only remember the freedoms that we hold dear, but also remain cautious of their surroundings and learn to recognize and report suspicious activity."

This Saturday through 11:00 p.m., additional staff will operate the Emergency Operations Center and the New York State Watch Center, the state’s 24-hour hour, seven-day-per-week monitoring point for all state national and international events.

DHSES Commissioner John P. Melville said, “Reporting suspicious activity can be crucial to maintaining the safety of all communities. If you see something, say something by calling the New York State Terrorism Tips Line at 1-866-SAFE-NYS.”

Governor Cuomo urged new Yorkers to remember the following safety tips:

Learn how to spot suspicious activity. It is important to identify individuals with malicious intentions before they are able to cause damage. While preparing for an attack, they may conduct themselves in ways that do not match the usual pattern of activity found within our daily lives, which makes them stand out from others. 

Learn the 8 signs of terrorism. Know the routines of your community. Always remain alert and aware of what is going on around you, and take what you see and hear seriously. Share this important information with your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers.

Learn how to accurately describe suspicious behavior. The more accurately you can describe the behavior you observed, the more useful you will be to authorities reviewing the suspicious activity or incident. 

Learn how to report suspicious activity. Program the phone numbers of your local law enforcement agencies, and the New York State Terrorism Tips Line phone number – 1-866-SAFE-NYS – into your phone, should you need to use it quickly. You can also report a tip online.
If you observe suspicious activity, always remember these important tips:

DO NOT take direct action. 
DO NOT confront the individual. 
DO NOT reveal your suspicions. 
DO record as many details as possible. 
DO notify the appropriate authorities as soon as possible.
For more information about the Safeguard New York Program, and to learn how to remain aware and prepared for signs of terrorism, visit the DHSES website.

About the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency
DHSES and its four offices – Counter Terrorism, Emergency Management, Fire Prevention and Control, and Interoperable and Emergency Communications – provide leadership, coordination and support for efforts to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorism and other man-made and natural disasters, threats, fires and other emergencies. For more information, visit the DHSES Facebook page, follow @NYSDHSES on Twitter, or visit

General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong to Visit White House

On July 7, 2015, President Obama will welcome to the White House Nguyen Phu Trong, the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam.  The President looks forward to discussing with General Secretary Trong ways to strengthen further the U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership, reflecting on the accomplishments of the past twenty years since the normalization of bilateral diplomatic relations.  The President also welcomes the opportunity to discuss other issues, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, human rights, and bilateral defense cooperation.

Source: The White House Press Office

Saakashvili Warns of Odessa Region’s Importance to Ukraine

Source: Euronews

Billionaire Saudi Prince Pledges Entire Personal Wealth to Charity

Source: Euronews

Greece: With Referendum Looming, ‘Yes’ Vote Ahead,Opinion Poll Suggests

By Sarah Joanne Taylor | With REUTERS, AP

Source: Euronews

Tunisia Beach Attack: Unity and Mourning a Week After Tourist Massacre

Source: Euronews

Calais Migrants: France & UK Promise Tougher Action

Source: Euronews

Egypt Hits Back at ‘Islamic State’ Militants in Sinai Peninsula

Source: Euronews

Boosting Foreign Trade on Agenda at Tenth Pacific Alliance Summit

Source: Euronews

Malaysia Wants UN-Backed Tribunal Over MH17

Source: Euronews

Two Explosions Hit Colombian Capital

Source: Euronews

Barcelona Blocks New Tourist Accommodation Licences

Source: Euronews

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Presidential Delegation to Canada to Attend the Final Match of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015

President Barack Obama today announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to Canada to attend the Final Match of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 in Vancouver on July 5, 2015. 

Vice President Joe Biden will join the delegation, led by Dr. Jill Biden, to Vancouver.

Members of the Presidential Delegation:

The Honorable Bruce Heyman, United States Ambassador to Canada, Department of State

The Honorable Evan Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State

Mr. Cobi Jones, Three-Time U.S. Men’s World Cup Player

Ms. Mia Hamm, Former U.S. Women’s National Team Player
Source: The White House Press Office

'Veep Talk': Vice President Biden Speaks with Prime Ministers Al-Abadi and Yatsenyuk


Vice President Biden spoke with Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi today to discuss ongoing efforts to defeat ISIL in Iraq. The Vice President reaffirmed full U.S. support for the Iraqi Government’s ongoing efforts to counter ISIL, including the mobilization of local tribal fighters. The Vice President applauded recent battlefield successes by those fighters and the contributions of U.S. military advisors in that effort. The Vice President and Prime Minister discussed the importance of having all Iraqi communities continuing to work together to fight ISIL.

NOTE: The following was added on Jul 2 at 6:20 p.m.

The Vice President also spoke with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. The two leaders discussed Ukraine’s reform agenda and the U.S.-Ukraine Business Forum on July 13th in Washington, DC. The Vice President welcomed the advancement of the constitutional reform process in Ukraine as a means to bring about meaningful decentralization of power in keeping with the Minsk agreements. The Vice President and Prime Minister also discussed the situation in the east and deeply regretted the numerous civilian casualties that have resulted from the continued shelling of the coastal city of Shyrokine by combined Russian-separatist forces. In that regard, the two leaders welcomed the renewal of European Union sanctions on Russia until January 31, 2016 to impose costs for Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine and ensure its full compliance with the terms of the Minsk agreements. The Vice President also strongly condemned the announcement by separatist leaders of plans to hold elections on October 18th in direct contravention of the Minsk agreements and Ukrainian law.

Source: The White House Press Office

Gil Noble on Malcolm X

Thank you for your incredible legacy, Mr. Noble. May you forever rest in peace. 

Washington Journal: Larry Pratt on Gun Control in the U.S.

Gun Owners of America Executive Director Larry Pratt discusses calls for stronger gun regulations following the mass shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in which nine people died.

Alexei Venediktov on Vladimir Putin's Russia

Echo of Moscow Editor-in-Chief Alexei Venediktov discusses changes in the Russian political system and the state of media under President Vladimir Putin’s leadership against the backdrop of the ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Source: C-Span

CEA: '5.6 Million Jobs Added Over the Past Two Years'

Statement on the Employment Situation in June

WASHINGTON, DC – Betsey Stevenson, a member of the Council of Economic Advisers, issued the following statement today on the employment situation in June.

The economy added 223,000 jobs in June as the unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent. Our economy has now added 5.6 million jobs over the past two years, the strongest two-year job growth since 2000. But despite this progress, there is more work to do. We must continue to build on the positive trends underlying our economy by ensuring that Americans working overtime receive a fair day’s pay, opening new markets for U.S. goods and services through expanded trade, increasing investments in infrastructure, providing relief from the sequester, and raising the minimum wage.


Point 1: The private sector has added 12.8 million jobs over 64 straight months of job growth, extending the longest streak on record. Today we learned that total nonfarm employment rose by 223,000 in June—and all those jobs came from the private sector. Although total job growth was revised down somewhat in April and May, much of the revision is attributable to lower government employment than previously estimated. On the whole, our economy has added 2.9 million new jobs over the past twelve months, near the fifteen-year high achieved in February.

Click on all graphs to enlarge them. 
Point 2: The labor force grew more slowly in June than it normally does at this time of year, reducing the seasonally adjusted labor force participation rate. June is normally a seasonally strong monthfor labor force growth, as many new graduates and summer workers enter the labor force. Over the past sixty years, the labor force has grown by 1.8 percent in June on average before seasonal adjustment—more than three times faster than May, the next fastest month. But this June, the labor force only rose 0.4 percent. Accordingly, the labor force contracted on a seasonally adjusted basis, reducing the labor force participation rate.

One contributing factor was the timing of the “reference week”—the week for which households report their labor force status in the Current Population Survey. Each month, the reference week is the Sunday-to-Saturday period that includes the 12th day of the month. Last month, the 12th was a Friday, pushing the reference week earlier in the month than normal. Accordingly, a smaller fraction of June’s labor force gains were likely captured in this year’s survey than in prior Junes. In fact, since 1955, June labor force growth has averaged 2.0 percent when the 12th has been a Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday, but only 1.7 percent when the 12th has been a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. That 0.3 percentage-point gap alone represents nearly 500,000 members of the labor force.

Point 3: Since the recession, both the number of workers who work overtime and the number of average overtime hours they work have increased. Both the number of people working more than 40 hours a week and the number of average hours worked over 40 reached their low in early 2010, but have since rebounded by 18 and 10 percent respectively, although neither has returned to its pre-recession average. Growth in both measures was faster from May 2014 to May 2015 than the annualized average rate over the previous four years. Both of these factors boost aggregate overtime worker-hours. This increase in both the number of employees who work overtime and the number of average overtime hours worked emphasizes the need to ensure that workers are fairly compensated for the rising importance of overtime in our economy.

Point 4: The share of workers who are unemployed due to job loss, as opposed to new entrants searching for a job, has returned to its pre-crisis level. The distribution of reasons for unemployment shifts with the business cycle. When overall unemployment is higher, more of the unemployed tend to have lost their previous jobs. When overall unemployment is lower, more of the unemployed are labor force entrants, either new or returning, who have begun job searches. (A third category, the fraction of unemployed who voluntarily left their jobs, is also cyclical but accounts for less of the variation.) Over the past year, the fraction of unemployed persons who lost their jobs returned to its average level from 2005 and 2006. Notably, the distribution has stabilized over the past eight months, with the breakdown of unemployed looking much like it did before the crisis struck. However, the fraction accounted for by job losses is still above its level from the height of the late 1990s expansion.   

Point 5: The distribution of job growth across industries generally followed recent trends in June, but some industries saw especially weak or strong months. June was an especially strong month for financial activities (+20,000), retail trade (+33,000), temporary help (+20,000), information (+7,000), and other services (+10,000). June was a weaker than usual month in construction (unchanged), wholesale trade (unchanged), utilities (unchanged), manufacturing (+4,000), and leisure and hospitality (+22,000). Across the 17 industries shown below, the correlation between the most recent one-month percent change and the average percent change over the last twelve months fell to 0.80 from 0.90 last month, remaining well above the average correlation in previous months.

As the Administration stresses every month, the monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and payroll employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data as they become available.

Source: The White House Press Office

Today in History: July 2

Martin Dempsey Releases 2015 National Military Strategy for the US

During a briefing at the Pentagon, Defense secretary Ashton Carter joins the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in answering questions about the nation's current strategic policies and security interests.

Next Batch of Hillary Clinton Emails Already Being Prepared By State Dept.

During a State Department briefing, spokesman John Kirby answers questions related to the phased release of the former secretary of state's emails.

Officials Want Facebook to Alert Them to Suspected Terror Messages

Civil liberties group says new bill would turn social network services into "secret police."

'Britain's Schindler,' Who Saved Over 650 Jewish Children During Holocaust, Dies

Alzheimer's Study Finds Caregiver Link

Research shows caregivers of someone with dementia are at a sixfold higher risk of the same fate. KPLC's Britney Glaser reports.

9/11 First Responder Hits $5 Million Lottery Jackpot

Mercado is pictured with New York Lottery's Yolanda Vega.

An FDNY firefighter who responded to the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 terror attacks -- then had to retire three years later because of the toll it took on his body -- just hit the lottery.

Carmelo Mercado, a firefighter from Queens who rushed to Ground Zero moments after the second twin tower collapsed and spent two days aiding in search efforts, was presented with a $5 million check Thursday at the New York Lottery's offices in lower Manhattan.

Mercado said that he hit the lottery after buying two tickets earlier this year. He said the first one didn't net him a prize. He said when he saw the first digit of the winning scratcher, he had to do a double-take.

"I said, 'Holy mackerel, that looks like $5 million'," he said. "My mind went blank. I was in shock."

Full article available here: Carmelo Mercado

Source: NBC News

Cuomo Responds to de Blasio Swipes: "I Choose to Seek Compromise"

Governor Andrew Cuomo is responding to Mayor Bill de Blasio's unusually sharp and critical remarks Tuesday that he's been "disappointed" with the governor after pledging in his inaugural address 18 months ago to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with his one-time boss. Brynn Gingras reports. 

Published Wednesday, Jul 1, 2015

Source: NBC News

A Flurry of Diplomatic Activity in Iran Nuclear Talks

Source: Euronews

New Ebola Cases in Liberia Raise Fears of Fresh Outbreak

By Alasdair Sandford | With AFP, AP, REUTERS

Source: Euronews

Varoufakis Echoes Syriza Defiance Before Greek Referendum

By Alasdair Sandford

Source: Euronews

Ukraine Unveils Draft Changes to Constitution

Source: Euronews

Mixed Messages from Europe’s Leaders Ahead of the Greek Referendum

Source: Euronews

Wikileaks: Top German Officials Targeted by NSA

Source: Euronews

Deadly Attack on UN Peacekeepers in Mali

Five UN peacekeepers have been killed and up to six others severely hurt in an attack on their convoy in northern Mali.

According to officials, the ambush took place close to Goundam, a town southwest of the northern city of Timbuktu.

Full article and video available here: UN Peacekeepers Killed

Source: Euronews

Tunisia Arrests 12 Suspected Over Sousse Beach Attack

Source: Euronews

Egyptian Army Drives Back Islamist Fighters in Sinai

Source: Euronews

Scores Dead as Philippines Ferry Capsizes

Source: Euronews

US Formally Asks Switzerland to Extradite FIFA Officials

By Alasdair Sandford

The United States has formally asked Switzerland to extradite seven FIFA officials arrested at the end of May in a corruption inquiry.

It is the first stage in what looks set to be a long procedure – up to six months according to Swiss authorities – as those being held had previously indicated that they would oppose extradition.

The Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) said in a news release that the US embassy in Bern submitted the formal requests on Wednesday, in line with a bilateral extradition treaty.

The demand was expected: US authorities had until July 3 to submit a formal request or ask for an extension.
The officials have 14 days to respond. The FOJ says it will rule on extradition within a few weeks after the detainees have been interviewed by the Zurich Cantonal Police – a decision which may then be subject to appeal.

The seven are among 14 people – senior FIFA officials plus figures from other governing bodies connected to the organisation – who were charged by New York judicial authorities with offences including racketeering and bribery following an investigation by the FBI.

Full article available here: FIFA Officials

Source: Euronews

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

"Let's Talk": The President Speaks with the Prime Minister of Italy

The President spoke today with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy regarding developments in Greece.  They agreed on the importance of all sides working to put Greece back on a path of reforms and financing that leads to growth and debt sustainability within the Eurozone. The leaders noted that their teams are in close contact and are monitoring economic developments in Greece as well as broader financial markets. They also discussed the importance of continued close coordination on counterterrorism. 

Source: The White House Press Office

U.S. and Cuba Embassy Openings

President Obama announced the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba and the opening of embassies by both countries in Washington and Havana. He also called on Congress to lift the embargo on Cuba.

Full video available here: U.S. and Cuba Embassy Openings

Source: C-Span

The First Lady Hosts the First-Ever White House Campout with Let's Move!

Washington Journal: Mike Debonis on Export-Import Bank Expiration

Washington Post Reporter Mike Debonis joins by phone to discuss Congress' failure to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank before their July 4th recess, resulting in the bank losing its authority to extend taxpayer-backed loans to companies.

Today in History: July 1st

Hillary Clinton Emails Released by the State Department

Nearly 2,000 messages are now available from Clinton's time as the Obama administration's secretary of state.

First Read: A Tale of Two Republican Brackets

First Read is a morning briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.

A Tale of Two Republican Brackets

With Chris Christie camping out in New Hampshire and with a brand-new poll out of Iowa, here's a helpful way to look at the crowded Republican field: It's a tale of two different brackets -- Iowa and New Hampshire. About half of Republicans are betting on success in the Hawkeye State, and the other half are focused on the Granite State, with a little overlap between the two.

  • Your Iowa bracket: Scott Walker (who is leading today's new Quinnipiac poll of Iowa at 18%), Ben Carson and Donald Trump (who are tied for second at 10% each), Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal
  • Your New Hampshire bracket: Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, George Pataki, maybe Lindsey Graham
  • Your crossovers: Rand Paul, Marco Rubio
Iowa is fascinating because you have 20% of likely caucus-goers in the Quinnipiac poll supporting either Trump or Carson, who in many ways look like placeholders for two different types of conservatives. Does that support go elsewhere as the race picks up -- to Walker, Cruz, or maybe even Rubio? As for Rubio, while we label him a crossover, ask yourself this question: How does he win the nomination without Iowa? 

Sure, he has an impressive organization in South Carolina. And a Top-3 finish in Iowa or New Hampshire would allow him to remain in the race a long time. But if he's going to win, it's going to have to start in Iowa, right?

As for New Hampshire, you're going to have three "moderate"-leaning governors or ex-governors all in the running -- Jeb, Kasich, Christie -- with maybe the eventual Iowa winner being a factor, too. 

Full article available here: A Tale of Two Republican Brackets 

Source: NBC News

NSC Spokesperson Ned Price on Terrorist Attacks in Egypt


The United States strongly condemns the terrorist attacks against Egyptian security forces in North Sinai this morning, which killed dozens of Egyptian personnel and injured many others.  We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and the government and people of Egypt, and wish for a speedy recovery for those who were injured.  The United States stands resolutely with Egypt amidst the spate of terrorist attacks that have afflicted the country and, in the context of our long-standing partnership, will continue to assist Egypt in addressing these threats to its security. 

Source: The White House Press Office

National Action Network to Convene Members of Congress, Administration and Civil Rights Leaders

Legislative & Policy Conference on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON – Reverend Al Sharpton, President and Founder of National Action Network (NAN), and NAN leadership will bring together members of Congress and the Administration, policy experts, and civil rights leaders and partners for this year’s NAN Legislative and Policy Conference. 

The two-day policy conference will take place next week, July 8th and 9th, on Capitol Hill. 

Reverend Sharpton will deliver remarks to the conference and will be joined by Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01), Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Congressman James E. Clyburn (SC-06), Assistant Democratic Leader, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Congresswoman Linda T. S├ínchez (CA-39), Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), U.S. Senators Charles E. “Chuck” Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Tim Scott (R-SC), and members of U.S. Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services, among others for a series of policy discussions and programs.

White House Lifts Camera and Photo Ban on Public Tours

Today, the White House is lifting its longstanding camera and photo ban on public tours.  This ban has been in place for over 40 years.  To announce the change in policy, the First Lady posted THIS video on her Instagram account.  Effective today, guests are now welcome to take photos throughout the White House tour route and keep those memories for a lifetime. Visitors are also encouraged to share their experience using the hashtag #WhiteHouseTour.

Permitted Items: Phones and compact still cameras with a lens no longer than 3 inches are allowed inside the White House.  Photography is permitted but may not interfere with the enjoyment of other guests on the tour.  

Prohibited Items: Video cameras, including any action camcorders, cameras with detachable lenses, tablets, tripods, monopods, and camera sticks are not permitted on White House Tours.  Flash photography and livestreaming are not permitted while on the tour.

Source: The White House Press Office

Disappointment as ‘Flotilla 3’ Mission to Gaza Flops

Source: Euronews

Greek Prime Minister Tsipras Makes New Offer to Creditors

 Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras
(Reuters/Marko Djurica)

The Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras has put a new offer on the table accepting nearly all of the international creditors demands published on June 28, with several conditions.

The new offer comes in a letter leaked by the Financial Times newspaper, which detailed five key points to negotiate including keeping the VAT discount for Greek islands, a delaying the increase in the pension age and delaying the phasing out of a solidarity grant to pensioners.

Full article available here: Tsipras Makes New Offer

Source: Euronews 

Merkel: No Talks on New Greece Bailout Deal Until After Referendum

By Alasdair Sandford

Source: Euronews

Eurogroup to Consider New Greece Bailout Request

The Greek request on Tuesday for a new bailout from the eurozone took the Eurogroup by surprise.

A planned conference call was put back from Wednesday morning till late afternoon.

The Eurogroup will consider Athens’ request for a new bailout of 29.1 billion euros from the eurozone’s 500 billion euro rescue fund known as the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

Some eurozone finance ministers are thought to be hostile to agreeing a new bailout when Greece could not accept the terms of the last offer.

Full article and video available here:  Eurogroup to Consider Bailout Request

Source: Euronews

Ukraine Stops Buying Russian Gas Over Price Row

Source: Euronews

Mixed Reactions as Iran Nuclear Talks Extended

Source: Euronews

Another Historically Black Church in South Carolina Burns

Yet another black church in the South went up in flames Tuesday night, this time historic Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal in Williamsburg County, South Carolina — 20 years after it was burned to the ground by Ku Klux Klan members.

The Clarendon County Fire Department said shortly before midnight ET that the fire was under control, but it released a photo showing the church with its roof apparently completely collapsed.

Williamsburg County Fire Chief Randy Swinton told NBC News it wasn't known whether the fire was intentionally set, noting that a lightning storm passed through the area about the same time the blaze was reported.

No injuries were immediately reported, but The Kingstree News of Williamsburg County reported that the church was "gutted." 

Full article available here: Church "Gutted" by Fire

Source: NBC News

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

President Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (Joint Press Conference)

President Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff held a joint news conference following a meeting at the White House. In addition to issues of U.S.-Brazilian relations, President Obama addressed questions on the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran and a string of positive moments for his presidential legacy over the prior week.

The First Lady Speaks on Career and Technical Education (CTE)

Governor Chris Christie Presidential Campaign Announcement

State Department Briefing

Spokesman John Kirby briefs reporters and responds to their questions on a variety of international topics, including the release of the next round of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Today in History: June 30th

Ebola Returns to Liberia

Liberia, which had been Ebola-free for more than a month, reported a new case of the virus Tuesday.

The body of a 17-year-old boy tested positive for Ebola in Margibi County and authorities have begun tracing people the victim may have come into contact with while infected, Deputy Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah said on Tuesday.

"There is no need to panic. The corpse has been buried and our contact tracing has started work," Nyenswah told Reuters. Margibi is a rural area close to the capital Monrovia, and is home to the country's main international airport.

At least 11,207 people have died from Ebola in Liberia, neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone since the outbreak began in December 2013, World Health Organization (WHO) spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told a news conference in Geneva. More than 27,000 have been infected. 

Full article and accompanying video available here: Ebola

Source: NBC News

Cuba Stops Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission

Cuba is the first country in the world to stop the transmission of the AIDS virus from mothers to their babies, the World Health Organization said Monday.

Cuba's also stopped the transmission of syphilis from mothers to newborns -- two feats that show it's possible to control epidemics of both infections.

"Eliminating transmission of a virus is one of the greatest public health achievements possible," said WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan. "This is a major victory in our long fight against HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and an important step towards having an AIDS-free generation."

"Eliminating transmission of a virus is one of the greatest public health achievements possible."

Babies can be infected with HIV at birth or by breastfeeding if the mother is infected. If the mother gets HIV drugs before and after giving birth, and if the newborn is given drugs, the risk falls to less than 1 percent.

The 2016 Money Chase: Everything You Need to Know

Keeping track of the money in the 2016 presidential race will be harder than ever - with all of the candidates, all of the Super PACs, all of the other outside groups.

But here's a handy guide on everything you'll need to know.

Just more than two weeks from now, we'll reach our next milestone in the 2016 presidential contest: The first results from the money race.

The 2nd fundraising quarter (April 1 thru June 30) ends on Tuesday, and the campaigns are required to report their results with the Federal Election Commission by July 15, while the deadline for the Super PACs is July 31. So those are the dates when we'll find out which campaigns have raked in the most money, as well as which big donors have written hefty checks to Super PACs.

Note: Only one major candidate - Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas - began his presidential campaign before April 1. So while the other campaigns will be reporting their first fundraising hauls of the 2016 race by July 15, this will be Cruz's second report. And since Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Ohio Gov. John Kasich won't be announcing their presidential bids until after June 30, they won't have to file their first campaign reports until Oct. 15.

Misty Copeland Is American Ballet Theatre's First Black Principal Dancer

Misty Copeland was promoted Tuesday to female principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, becoming the first black woman in the company's 75-year history to hold the role.

Copeland, 32, is already arguably the most famous ballerina in the United States, having been the subject of a TIME magazine cover and a popular Under Armour ad campaign along with her high profile position at American Ballet Theatre. She has spent 14 years there, more than half as a soloist. 

Full article and video of Copeland performing available here: Misty Copeland

Source: NBC News

Tunisia Boosts Tourist Ssecurity and Probes Libya Link to Sousse Gunman

Greece Submits Last-Ditch Aid Plan, ‘Requests Extension’ of Current Program

Islamic State Threatens to Topple Hamas in Gaza

Reuters, 30/06 22:42 CET

CAIRO (Reuters) – Islamic State insurgents threatened on Tuesday to turn the Gaza Strip into another of their Middle East fiefdoms, accusing Hamas, the organisation that rules the Palestinian territory, of being insufficiently stringent about religious enforcement.

The video statement, issued from an Islamic State stronghold in Syria, was a rare public challenge to Hamas, which has been cracking down on jihadis in Gaza who oppose its truces with Israel and reconciliation with the U.S.-backed rival Palestinian faction Fatah.

“We will uproot the state of the Jews (Israel) and you and Fatah, and all of the secularists are nothing and you will be over-run by our creeping multitudes,” said a masked Islamic State member in the message addressed to the “tyrants of Hamas”.

Full article available here: Islamic State Threat

Source: Euronews

Tsipras Keeping Promise, One Refusal at a Time

Source: Euronews

Iran Nuclear Talks Extended Until July 7, Says US

Source: Euronews

Gaza Flotilla Detainees Await Expulsion from Israel in Jail

Source: Euronews

WikiLeaks: NSA Spied on French Ministers and Business, Too

By Alasdair Sandford

Source: Euronews

Dozens Killed as Indonesian Military Plane Crashes on Houses in Sumatra

Source: Euronews

Monday, June 29, 2015

More Big Rulings for the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court handed down major decisions on cases involving lethal injection, congressional redistricting, and the EPA's ability to enforce the Clean Air Act.

State Department Briefing

Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner briefs reporters on a variety of international topics, including possible Turkish efforts to set up a buffer zone in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and violence at a gay pride parade in Turkey.

Jeb Bush Remarks in Columbia, South Carolina

2016 Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush spoke at a campaign event in Columbia, South Carolina. 

Video link: Jeb Bush Remarks

Source: C-Span

'Let's Talk': Obama Speaks with Cameron, Essebsi and Hollande

Prime Minister David Cameron

President Obama spoke with Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom today to express condolences and to offer support in the aftermath of the deadly terrorist attack in Sousse, Tunisia, last Friday, which killed a number of British citizens. The two leaders reaffirmed their steadfast commitment to work together with our partners in Europe, the Middle East, and around the world to confront terrorism and counter violent extremist ideologies. The President conveyed that the thoughts and prayers of the American people are with the victims, families and loved ones from all countries affected by last Friday’s attacks in Tunisia. They also discussed Greece and the importance of providing support for reforms that set the country on a path toward debt sustainability and growth. 

 President Beji Caid Essebsi of Tunisia

President Obama also spoke today with President Beji Caid Essebsi of Tunisia to offer condolences and support following the terrorist attack on June 26 near Sousse, Tunisia. President Obama extended deep sympathy on behalf of all Americans to the victims of the heinous violence and their families. The President commended the Tunisian people for their commitment to standing strong and united to reject terrorism. The President re-affirmed our readiness to assist with the investigation and pledged to continue strengthening our cooperation on counterterrorism and broader security issues with the Tunisian government.

President Francois Hollande of France

Finally, The President spoke today with President Hollande of France regarding developments in Greece. The two leaders agreed on the importance of restarting work to reach agreement on a package of reforms and financing that will allow Greece to return to growth and debt sustainability within the Eurozone. The leaders noted that their economic teams are in close contact and are monitoring developments in Greece and the broader financial markets. In addition, the President offered his condolences for the terrorist attack and loss of life that took place last week near Lyon and underscored our commitment to continue our ongoing counterterrorism partnership with France.

Source: White House Press Office