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NEWS   SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016   NEWS

Obama Vetoes 9/11 Bill, Setting Up Showdown With Congress
President Obama on Friday vetoed a widely supported bill that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia – setting up a showdown with Congress where lawmakers on both sides of the aisle aim to override the president’s decision. Obama, vetoing the legislation just hours before it was set to become law, cited the potential for the bipartisan bill to backfire against the U.S., its diplomats and military personnel. While saying he has “deep sympathy” for 9/11 victims’ families, Obama said the bill “does not enhance the safety of Americans from terrorist attacks, and undermines core U.S. interests.” But Congress was expected to move rapidly to try to override the veto, which requires a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate. A successful override would be the first of Obama's presidency. Fox News

Cruz Says He Will Vote For Trump
Sen. Ted Cruz announced Friday that he will vote for ex-primary foe Donald Trump in November and urged others to do the same, reversing course to back the Republican nominee two months after he stunned the party brass by withholding his endorsement at the Cleveland convention. Cruz and Trump were bitter rivals in the final stretch of the primary campaign. The Texas senator’s announcement of support, made on Facebook, comes just days before the first debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton. “Like many other voters, I have struggled to determine the right course of action in this general election,” Cruz said in his statement. Fox News

You Could Have A Yahoo Account Without Even Knowing It
Think you're not affected by the massive hack of 500 million Yahoo accounts? Think again. Just because you don't have a Yahoo email account doesn't mean you're off the hook. There are plenty of other types of accounts that put users at risk. Play fantasy sports on Yahoo Sports? Post pictures on Ficklr? Blog on Tumblr? Or maybe you just stopped using your Yahoo email years ago. If so, you might be a hacking victim, according to a leading Internet security expert. "There are lots of people, millions of people, who don't understand they have a Yahoo account," said Per Thorsheim, a global cybersecurity expert based in Norway. The hack, disclosed by Yahoo on Thursday, was allegedly committed by a "state-sponsored actor" on behalf of a foreign government, according to the company. It said the breach occurred in 2014. Much of the attention to the hack focused on current Yahoo email users. But Thorsheim said one of his big concerns is that many people don't realize they have other accounts that put their information -- including names, email addresses, telephone numbers and birthdays -- in jeopardy. CNN

Guam Leader Oks Bill Ending Time Limits In Child Sex Cases
Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo said Friday he signed a bill that would lift the statute of limitations on child sex abuse charges for civil cases, a move that Catholic leaders say could bankrupt the church in the largely Catholic U.S. territory. The bill, which does not apply to criminal prosecutions, was approved by the Legislature after abuse allegations surfaced against Archbishop Anthony Apuron. Church leaders say lifting the statute of limitations would subject the church to unlimited financial liability, forcing the closure of parish churches and schools on the island where more than three quarters of Guam's 162,000 residents are Roman Catholics. Philadelphia Inquirer

Obama: African-American Museum Tells 'Story Of All Of Us'
President Barack Obama on Friday celebrated the pending opening of the Smithsonian's new African-American museum and said the institution, decades in the making, is a powerful place because it tells "the story of all of us," not just the famous. John Legend sits in the front row at the Kennedy Center in Washington, Friday, Sept. 23, 2016, to attend a performance of, "Taking the Stage, African American Music and Stories that Changed a Nation." Obama also said he hoped the museum would help people bridge divides that were re-exposed by the latest fatal, police-involved shootings of black men. The country's first black president, Obama was scheduled to preside over an outdoor ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday morning for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which was built on the National Mall in the shadow of the Washington Monument. Philadelphia Inquirer

Gunman Still At Large After Killing 5 Inside Mall
Police searched Saturday for a gunman authorities said opened fire in the makeup department of a Macy’s store at a mall north of Seattle, killing four females and one man, before fleeing toward an interstate on foot. People fled, customers hid in dressing rooms and employees locked the doors of nearby stores after gunshots rang out just after 7 p.m. Friday at the Cascade Mall. A helicopter, search teams and K-9 units scoured the area for a rifle-carrying man. “We are still actively looking for the shooter,” Washington State Patrol spokesman Sgt. Mark Francis said at a news conference. “Stay indoors, stay secure.” NY Post

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Obama On Trump: 'Even Most 8-Year-Olds' Know Slavery Was A Bad time for black people
President Barack Obama sharply criticized Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for saying earlier this week that the black community is in the worst shape it's "ever been in before." "I think even most 8-year-olds will tell you that whole slavery thing wasn't very good for black people," Obama told ABC News in an interview that aired Friday on "Good Morning America." "Jim Crow wasn't very good for black people. What we have to do is use our history to propel us to make even more progress in the future." CNN

DEA Warns First Responders And Public About Danger Of Exposure To Elephant Tranquilizer
The Drug Enforcement Agency on Thursday warned the public and law enforcement agencies nationwide about the dangers of exposure to carfentanil, an elephant tranquilizer that is ten thousand times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl, which itself is 50 times more potent than the heroin with which it is often mixed. Carfentanil is now linked to a "significant number" of overdose deaths in the U.S., and DEA warns that improper handling of the synthetic opioid "has deadly consequences." "It is crazy dangerous," said DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg. "I hope our first responders -- and the public -- will read and heed our health and safety warning." CNS News

Biden On Obama’s Syria Policy: ‘I’m Not A Big Fan Of Red Lines’
Asked about the Obama administration’s approach towards the crisis in Syria, Vice President Joe Biden said this week he was “not a big fan of red lines,” and questioned the wisdom of calls to get involved militarily. “Look, I’m not a big fan of red lines,” he said during a discussion on foreign policy hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. “I am not a proponent of laying down markers unless you’ve thought through the second, third, and fourth step that you’re going to have to take, and almost assuredly will have to take, in order to accomplish your initial goal.” In the context of Syria’s civil war and U.S. policy, the red line notion is most often associated with President Obama’s 2012 assertion that the use of chemical weapons in the conflict would be a “red line for us,” one which he said “would change my calculus.” CNS News

Adult, Larval Insecticides Pack Deadly Punch To Mosquitoes, Zika: U.S.
The unprecedented aerial spraying of products that kill both adult mosquitoes as well as their larvae delivered a "1-2 punch" that has stopped direct transmission of the Zika virus in the Wynwood section of Miami, U.S. and Florida health officials said on Friday. The trendy Miami neighborhood in June became the first neighborhood in the continental United States with a local outbreak of Zika, a mosquito-borne virus that can cause severe birth defects in infected pregnant women. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday declared Wynwood free of Zika, saying there had been no cases of infection with the virus there in the past 45 days. Even so, the federal agency urged pregnant women to consider putting off nonessential travel to the neighborhood to avoid risk of infection. Reuters

Obama Used Pseudonym To Talk With Hillary On Private Server
President Obama used an undisclosed pseudonym to communicate with then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her private email server – shocking her top aide Huma Abedin when she learned of it. “How is that not classified?” Abedin “exclaimed” to investigators when shown a copy of the 2012 exchange between Clinton and Obama, according to a trove of 189-pages of FBI documents dumped Friday night into Clinton’s use of the private server. After learning that the president used email with a pseudonym — apparently to try to protect his identity — Abedin asked her interrogators if she could keep a copy of the email. The FBI documents don’t reveal if they let Abedin take a copy home with her. NY Post

Uganda: Police Stop Gay Pride Parade Deemed Illegal
Ugandan police have prevented organizers from holding a gay pride parade on the orders of a government minister who says such an event is illegal. Frank Mugisha, a gay rights leader in Uganda, said police blocked organizers from staging the event at two locations outside the Ugandan capital, Kampala. Mugisha said more than 100 LGBT people turned up for the event Saturday at a beach on Lake Victoria. He said most of them were later ordered into minibuses and escorted by police to Kampala.
Homosexuality is criminalized in Uganda under a colonial-era law proscribing sex acts "against the order of nature." Tampa Tribune

Charlotte Has 4th Night Of Protest Over Police Shooting
Demonstrators carried signs, chanted and marched in a peaceful protest hours after the family of a black man shot by police released video showing the events leading up to his death. Friday's march through Charlotte's business district was the fourth night of demonstrations over the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott earlier in the week.
After darkness fell, dozens of people took to the streets to urge police to release dashboard and body camera video that could show more clearly what happened. Police have said Scott was armed, but witnesses say he held only a book. The group, which appeared smaller than previous nights, carried a banner that said "Just Release the Tapes." Tampa Tribune

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White House, Government Agencies Discuss Possible Shutdown
The White House budget office scheduled a call with U.S government agencies on Friday to plan for a government shutdown in case the U.S. Congress fails to pass a short-term funding bill by a deadline next week. "It is our hope that this work will ultimately be unnecessary and that there will be no lapse in appropriations," a spokeswoman for the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said in a statement. The federal fiscal year ends on Sept. 30 and Congress must pass a spending measure by then to keep the government open. In recent years, lawmakers have seldom agreed on a full federal budget and instead have relied on stop-gap measures. Reuters

Clinton Aide Cheryl Mills Got Partial Immunity In Email Investigation
The Justice Department has granted Cheryl Mills, a former chief of staff for Hillary Clinton, a limited immunity deal in the FBI's investigation into the use of the former secretary of state's private email server, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee said on Friday. Chafffetz told the Associated Press that Mills allowed the FBI to access her laptop in the agency's now-closed investigation into Clinton's use of the private email server on the condition that findings couldn't be used against her. Two other staffers, John Bentel, then-director of the State Department's Office of Information Resources Management, and Clinton aide Heather Samuelson were also offered limited immunity deals. MSNBC

Yahoo Could Pay For Breach Negligence In Lower-Priced Verizon Deal
Yahoo's trouble over its massive data breach is far from over. The first of what is expected to be multiple lawsuits linked to the breach was brought in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif. Friday by customer Robert Schwartz, who accused Yahoo of failing to adequately protect his personal information from data breaches and identity theft. The suit seeks class action status. Security and management experts are also questioning the timetable and disclosure process followed by Yahoo and its CEO Marissa Mayer in the two years since the breach happened and two months after bidding rounds led to a deal to sell Yahoo's core assets to Verizon Communications. The hack could give buyer Verizon leeway to lower the $4.8 billion agreed in July — and perhaps even derail the deal. USA Today

Springsteen, Bon Jovi: Trump Is A Lying Moron
Look out Donald Trump, Jersey rockers are coming at you. Both Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen put Trump in their cross-hairs with scathing take-downs of the Republican candidate for president in the last 48 hours. Bon Jovi called Trump a liar in comments to Gigwise, a London based music website. "It's an unbelievable time in American politics and it scares the (blank) out of me," Bon Jovi said. "I pray he's not the next president of the United States. It's incredible that the man can lie to you. You tell him here's factually what you said that's incorrect and then he tells it the same (way again)." Bon Jovi has campaigned for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and he's hopeful she'll win in November. USA Today

2 More Human Cases Of West Nile Confirmed In Massachusetts
State public health officials say there have now been five confirmed human cases of West Nile Virus in Massachusetts this year. The Department of Public Health reported Friday that the two most recent cases were a Norfolk County resident in her 40s and an elderly man from Middlesex County. The woman did not require hospitalization, while the man was hospitalized but later discharged. An Arlington health official says a resident tested positive for the virus, which has also been found in mosquito pools in that town and surrounding communities. Arlington is among communities considered at high risk for West Nile for the remainder of the mosquito season. The list also includes Belmont, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Medford, Newton, Revere, Somerville, Watertown and Winthrop. Boston Globe

Is Trump's Minority Outreach Helping Among White Voters?
Donald Trump's proposed expansion of the controversial stop-and-frisk policing tactic is the latest example of how his minority outreach effort is often times at odds with his past policy and rhetoric, and provides hints at what may be the real intended audience for his newly inclusive message: College-educated white voters. A majority of those voters have backed the Republican candidate in every presidential election since at least 1992. But this year, polling has shown them abandoning Trump and viewing Democrat Hillary Clinton far more positively. While Mitt Romney won that demographic by six percent in 2012, according to exit polling, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll out this week found him losing those voters to Clinton by that same margin. MSNBC

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State Department Reveals FBI Uncovered 2,800 Emails Clinton Never Turned Over
The State Department said Friday it likely has more than 2,800 new emails former Secretary Hillary Clinton never turned over but were recovered by the FBI, and will begin releasing them in batches beginning next month. But only a small percentage will be processed before the election, the department said in court, arguing its resources are stretched too thin to get them done. All told, the FBI turned over 15,171 emails it recovered that involved Mrs. Clinton, and of those about 60 percent have been deemed purely personal. That leaves some 5,600 that are work-related, but based on a sample of data, nearly half of those are duplicates, leaving the 2,800 or so that are new. Washington Times

Bruce Springsteen On Trump: ‘The Republic Is Under Siege By A Moron’
Bruce Springsteen says Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is a “moron” who oversimplifies complex issues and brings “dangerous ideas” into the mainstream. “The republic is under siege by a moron, basically,” the musician told Rolling Stone, as part of a longer interview to appear in the magazine’s next issue. “The whole thing is tragic. Without overstating it, it’s a tragedy for our democracy,” Mr. Springsteen said. “When you start talking about elections being rigged, you’re pushing people beyond democratic governance. And it’s a very, very dangerous thing to do. Once you let those genies out of the bottle, they don’t go back in so easy, if they go back in at all. Washington Times

"Deplorables" Label Has More Lasting Power For Trump Than Clinton
It was supposed to be her “47 percent” moment. When Hillary Clinton said that half of Donald Trump’s supporters belonged in a “basket of deplorables,” Republicans thought they just might have found her campaign-crushing-blunder. The gaffe, they hoped, was a way to cement an image as an out-of-touch snob, just as Democrats did four years ago to Mitt Romney after he said “47 percent” of voters backed President Barack Obama because they were “dependent on government.” But a new Associated Press-GfK poll finds that Clinton’s stumble didn’t have quite the impact that Trump and his supporters wanted. Instead, it’s Trump who’s viewed as most disconnected and disrespectful. CBS

Protesters Call For Accountability On March Through Downtown Atlanta
In the wake of two recent police-involved shootings of black men in Oklahoma and North Carolina, a group of about 450 protesters marched Friday night in downtown Atlanta in what the Georgia NAACP president called an “escalation.” “Black people have witnessed people do violence to them and (the offender) be protected by law enforcement,” NAACP Chapter President Francys Johnson said at a news conference Friday before the protest. “It is in fact an escalation,” he said. “We aren’t asking anymore. We’re demanding.”The march, which began just before 8 p.m. at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, comes after two black men — Terence Crutcher and Keith Scott — were shot and killed by officers in Tulsa and Charlotte. Tulsa officer Betty Shelby was charged with manslaughter Thursday in the shooting death of Crutcher, who was unarmed. She turned herself into authorities Friday morning. Atlanta Journal

Trump Campaign Plans $140 Million Ad Buy
Donald Trump's campaign is planning for what it says will amount to $140 million worth of advertising from now until Election Day. The total, if executed, would include $100 million in television airtime and $40 million in digital ads, according to senior communications adviser Jason Miller. The plan represents a new approach for the billionaire businessman, who has repeatedly bragged in recent weeks about how much less he's spent than Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and seemed to rely heavily on free media coverage of his large rallies. Through this week, the Trump campaign has put only about $22 million into TV and radio ads for the general election, according to Kantar Media's political advertising tracker. Clinton has spent more than five times as much on those kinds of ads, $124 million so far. Houston Chronicle

Lawmakers Vow To Override Obama's Veto Of Sept. 11 Bill
Democrats and Republicans are vowing to decisively override President Barack Obama's veto of a bill to allow families of Sept. 11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia for the kingdom's alleged backing of the terrorists who killed nearly 3,000 people. Obama rejected the bill Friday, warning of a host of unintended and severe consequences if it were enacted. The legislation, according to Obama, could leave American troops and diplomats overseas vulnerable to lawsuits in foreign courts from people seeking redress for actions taken by armed groups that are backed or trained by the United States. The bill's proponents disputed Obama's rationale, arguing the measure is narrowly tailored and applies only to acts of terrorism that occur on U.S. soil. Houston Chronicle

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Best Economic Indicators These Days? FedEx And UPS
Wondering about the health of the U.S. economy? Wonder no more: One of the clearest indicators of how the economy is faring is the level of business activity at FedEx (FDX) and UPS (UPS). Revenues and margins are rising at both FedEx, which provides air-express services for packages and freight in more than 220 countries, and UPS, the world’s largest express-delivery company, thanks to the recovering U.S. economy and the rapid growth of online shopping. Shares of the two companies also have been on the rise: The price of FedEx’s stock, at about $173 on Thursday, is up from its 52-week low of $119, while UPS’ class B stock is at about $109 a share, up from its 52-week low of around $87. CBS

Early Voting Expected to Rise in 2016 as In-Person Balloting Begins
Election Day may be more than six weeks away but, starting today, some voters can cast votes at a physical polling place as statewide in-person, no-excuse voting gets underway in Minnesota and South Dakota. With more than two-thirds of states offering some kind of early voting, the practice will trend upward in 2016, as it has in recent decades, and will play a major factor in battleground state ballots, some election experts predict. ABC

Witness: Christie Used Bridge Authority To Gain Endorsements
Republican Gov. Chris Christie's office used the bistate agency that runs the New York area's bridges, tunnels, ports and airports as a clearinghouse for political favors aimed at gaining endorsements from local Democratic politicians, a witness testified Friday in the fraud trial of two former Christie allies. Among those directly involved in the effort or aware of it were Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni, who are accused of creating traffic gridlock at the George Washington Bridge in 2013 to punish one of those mayors for not endorsing Christie, according to David Wildstein's testimony. Wildstein said Christie and his former campaign manager, Bill Stepien, were among those who discussed the strategy at a meeting about Christie's 2013 re-election. ABC

U.S. Abandons Syria Truce Efforts And Lays The Blame With Russia
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry abandoned his bid to salvage a cease-fire aimed at easing Syria’s 5 1/2-year civil war, saying it was pointless to press ahead without a “major gesture” from Russia to end the violence. Kerry spoke to reporters after the U.S., Russia, Iran and other members of the International Syria Support Group met in New York on Thursday to discuss a truce that went into effect Sept. 12 but quickly unraveled. The U.S. says Russia has failed to use its influence over President Bashar al-Assad to stop the violence, or to ground its own jets, which entered the conflict on Assad’s behalf a year ago. Bloomberg

Vitamin B Levels During Pregnancy Linked To Child's Risk For Eczema, Study Says
Lower levels of a form of vitamin B during pregnancy may increase the risk for eczema in children, according to researchers in England. Low levels of nicotinamide and related tryptophan metabolites -- levels which can be maintained with a proper diet -- play a role in development of eczema during pregnancy, University of Southampton researchers report in a study published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy. The finding confirms what researchers say has been a long-held theory that the skin condition originates during development in the womb, and that bit of knowledge may lead to finding ways of preventing it. "More research is needed to investigate this interesting association, but the findings are further evidence of the potential benefits of eating a healthy balanced diet during pregnancy," Keith Godfrey, a professor at the University of Southampton and director of the Southampton Biomedical Research Center in Nutrition, said in a press release. UPI

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Trump’s Politics Are Costing Him Customers
If Donald Trump is headed back to his Manhattan offices in two months, and not the White House, he’ll be returning to a brand that’s been dramatically reshaped by his two-year political adventure. Maybe not in a good way. “The Trump brand used to be one-dimensionally focused on success. It was simple and relevant to a large audience,” said Allen Adamson, founder of consulting company BrandSimple. “Now it’s more complex and polarizing and relevant to a smaller market segment.” That’s because there’s a mismatch between Trump’s voter base and his target consumers, branding experts like Adamson say. And the data trickling in from the tourism and real-estate industries backs them up. Bloomberg

US Ex-Officials, North Koreans Quietly Meet
Officially, the United States and North Korea barely speak to each other, their communications often limited to public exchanges of insults. The U.S. ambassador in Seoul is "a villain, a crazy person," a North Korean diplomat says. North Korea is a "wasteland" compared to South Korea, President Obama tells the United Nations.
But out of the limelight, and sometimes in secret, a small corps of former U.S. diplomats and intelligence officials, often working with academic specialists, meet regularly with high-ranking North Koreans. They have sat down in Singapore, Berlin, Beijing and elsewhere to discuss everything from the details of North Korea's nuclear program to concerns about the effects of international trade sanctions on Pyongyang. They have talked about the growing security fears in Washington, Seoul and Tokyo, and about the timing of North Korean missile tests. Las Vegas Sun

UPS Testing Drones For Package-Delivery Use
One of the world's largest package delivery companies is stepping up efforts to integrate drones into its system. UPS has partnered with robot-maker CyPhy Works to test the use of drones to make commercial deliveries to remote or difficult-to-access locations. The companies began testing the drones on Thursday, when they launched one from the seaside town of Marblehead. The drone flew on a programmed route for 3 miles over the Atlantic Ocean to deliver an inhaler at Children's Island. The successful landing was greeted by jubilant shouts from CyPhy Works and UPS employees on the island to witness the test. Las Vegas Sun

Dialysis Used More Often In U.S. Than Other Developed Nations
Compared to other developed countries, a significantly higher portion of chronic kidney disease patients in the United States received renal replacement therapy, or dialysis, raising questions about decision-making among clinicians who prescribe it. More than 85 percent of patients in a recent study either received dialysis treatment or were preparing to start, according to a review of data published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. UPI

Pulse Nightclub Shooter Said He Acted To Avenge U.S. Airstrikes
In a series of calls, beginning with the shooter to 911 and shifting to repeated communications with a hostage negotiator, Omar Mateen explained why he brought two guns into an LGBT Orlando nightclub in June and started shooting just after last call. He killed 49 people and wounded scores more. Throughout the 28 minutes of talking, Mateen, a 29-year-old Fort Pierce man, demanded an end to U.S. airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, referenced other American terrorists, including Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and warned of more violence to come. The police negotiator prodded him for information but got got little. At times the shooter cursed and taunted the negotiator, who pleaded, “Tell me what’s going on. I’m here. I’m listening. I’m here, I’m listening.” Charlotte Observer

Pope Receives Relatives Of Nice Attack Victims At Vatican
Pope Francis met one by one with relatives of the victims of this summer's truck attack in Nice, France, at the Vatican Saturday, encouraging them to resist what he called the great temptation to "respond to hatred with hatred and to violence with violence." The special audience in a Vatican auditorium included Christians, Muslims and Jews. "It cheers me to see that, among you, inter-religious relations are very strong, and this cannot but help contribute to alleviating the wounds of these dramatic events," said the pontiff, who also offered compassion to those in attendance. Nice's former mayor, Christian Estrosi, gave the pope a basket of 86 flowers to symbolize the 86 victims of the July 14 attack by an extremist who barreled the truck he was driving through a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day in the French Riviera city. Charlotte Observer

New Migration: Haitians Carve A Dangerous 7,000-Mile Path To The U.S.
After decades of crossing the Florida straits on a 700-mile trip in rickety boats to flee poverty and political turmoil, Haitians have carved out a new route to get to the United States. It’s a staggering 7,000-mile journey that starts in Brazil — which opened its doors to Haitians after the devastating 2010 earthquake — and cuts through South and Central America, traversing 11 countries and costing thousands of dollars a head in fees to people smugglers — coyotes in Spanish, passeurs in French — to find the way across closed borders. In recent months, an increasing number of Haitians have been attempting the trek — by mini-van and bus, in overcrowded canoes and on foot — desperate to get to the U.S. border. Miami Herald

Cruz To Vote For Trump, Whom He Once Called 'Utterly Amoral'
Ted Cruz announced Friday he will vote for Donald Trump, a dramatic about-face that may help unite a deeply divided Republican Party months after the fiery Texas conservative called Trump a "pathological liar" and "utterly amoral." Cruz said he was simply following through on a promise to support his party's presidential nominee, even though the New York billionaire had nicknamed him "Lyin' Ted," insulted his wife and linked his father to the John F. Kennedy assassination.
But facing intensifying political pressure to back Trump, Cruz said he would cast a vote for Trump, while stopping short of an official endorsement in a statement posted Friday on Facebook. The distinction may matter little to voters, but helps Cruz save face among those supporters still unwilling to forgive Trump's heated attacks during their ugly and often intensely personal primary campaign. Cruz was booed by Trump supporters at the national convention for encouraging Republicans to "vote your conscience." SF Gate

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Kerry Says US, Israel Can Still Achieve Progress Towards 2-States In Coming Months
There is concern and speculation in Jerusalem that US President Barack Obama may refrain from rejecting a UN Security Council resolution recognizing a Palestinian state before the end of his term. US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that the US and Israel can still accomplish a number of "things" before the end of the Obama administration, while stating the need to "protect the two-state solution" during remarks before a meeting with Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu. "There are things we believe we could achieve in the next months, and there are serious concerns that we all have about the security of the region, the need for stability, the need to protect the two-state solution," Kerry said in a brief statement. Jerusalem Post

Quartet Calls Israel Out For Ongoing Settlement Activity
The Middle East Quartet called Israel out on Friday for its ongoing settlement activity, which they said is “an obstacle to peace”. Representatives of the Quartet, which include United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, United States Secretary of State John Kerry and European Union Representative Federica Mogherini, met in New York on the last day of the UN General debate. They were also joined by the Foreign Ministers of Egypt and France during the second part of the meeting to brief on their work to support Middle East peace. Jerusalem Post

US Confirms IS Used Chemical Rocket In Attack On Troops In Iraq
A rocket launched by Islamic State militants at American troops based in Iraq did contain a mustard agent, the US military has confirmed. No-one was hurt in Tuesday's attack on the Qayyarah air base near the IS stronghold of Mosul. Marine Gen Joseph Dunford, chairman of US joint chiefs of staff, said the group's capability to deliver chemical weapons was rudimentary. But the attack, he added, was a "concerning development". IS has long been suspected of making and using crude chemical weapons in Iraq and Syria, where it also controls territory. BBC

Charlotte Congressman Sorry For Newsnight Race Comments
North Carolina congressman Robert Pittenger has apologised following remarks about the black community he made to BBC Newsnight. "The grievance in their mind is the animus, the anger," the Republican said about the protesters in the city of Charlotte in his home state. "They hate white people because white people are successful and they're not." Protests followed the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, a black man, in Charlotte on Tuesday. Mr Pittenger, who represents the city in the US House of Representatives and has backed Donald Trump for president, apologised within hours of the interview on Thursday night. BBC

Stephen Hawking Warns Against Seeking Out Aliens In New Film
“We come in peace” might be the traditional opening gambit for aliens in science fiction, but we should be wary about beaming back a response to any advanced life-forms in real life, Stephen Hawking has warned. Our first contact from an advanced civilisation could be equivalent to when Native Americans first encountered Christopher Columbus and things “didn’t turn out so well”, he cautioned. The comments are made in an online film, Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places, in which the theoretical physicist takes viewers on his own CGI spacecraft (the SS Hawking) to five significant locations across the cosmos. Guardian

Hillary Clinton's Plan To Stop Isis: Hunt Down Leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi
A key priority of Hillary Clinton’s proposed intelligence surge will be to kill or capture Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, her campaign has told the Guardian. During the past year, Clinton, the former secretary of state and Democratic presidential nominee, has placed bolstering the vast US intelligence apparatus at the center of her national security agenda. Days before the first presidential debate – and after the New York area escaped without mass casualties from multiple bombings – her campaign has for the first time expanded on how her policies would work. Guardian

Security Council Adopts Resolution On Nuclear Non-Proliferation And Nuclear Disarmament
Reaffirming that proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and their means of delivery, threatens international peace and security, the United Nations Security Council today adopted a resolution urging all States who haven’t done so to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. With 14 votes in favour and one abstention (Egypt), the resolution welcomed progress made towards universalization of the Treaty, noting that 183 States have signed the Treaty and 166 States have deposited their instruments of ratification. UN News

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