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American warship destroys Iranian drone in Strait of Hormuz

American warship destroys Iranian drone in Strait of HormuzA U.S. warship on Thursday destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after it threatened the ship, President Donald Trump said. The incident marked a new escalation of tensions between the countries less than one month after Iran downed an American drone in the same waterway and Trump came close to retaliating with a military strike. In remarks at the White House, Trump blamed Iran for a "provocative and hostile" action and said the U.S. responded in self-defense.

Thu, 18 Jul 2019 18:41:36 -0400
Poll: 38 Percent of Democrats Say American Dream Is Unattainable for Them

Poll: 38 Percent of Democrats Say American Dream Is Unattainable for Them38 percent of Democrats say they do not believe they will achieve the American dream in their lifetimes, compared to just 11 percent of Republicans, according to a new Gallup poll.Two-thirds of independents said they see the dream as attainable, compared to 31 percent who said they do not. Overall, about 70 percent of Americans feel that American dream could be grasped, the poll reported, while 29 percent disagree.The 38 percent of Democrats who said they did not believe they could achieve the American dream represented a sharp increase from a decade ago, when 29 percent of Democrats said the same. President Trump has described the Republican party as "the party of the American Dream," perhaps contributing to the increasing partisan split on the matter."The American dream is back," the president said after taking office in 2017. "We're going to create an environment for small business like we haven't had in many, many decades."

Thu, 18 Jul 2019 14:57:15 -0400
New Jersey judge who cited alleged rapist's 'good family' in court ruling steps down

New Jersey judge who cited alleged rapist's 'good family' in court ruling steps downSuperior Court Judge James G. Troiano has drawn an intense backlash over his decision to bar prosecutors from bringing adult charges against the teen.

Wed, 17 Jul 2019 19:16:18 -0400
Pakistan price squeeze hits middle class as well as poor

Pakistan price squeeze hits middle class as well as poorPrime Minister Imran Khan's government faces mounting pressure as rising prices and tough austerity policies under Pakistan's latest bailout from the International Monetary Fund are squeezing the middle class that helped carry it to power. Rashid Mehmood owns a small shop selling children's clothing in Aabpara, the oldest market in the capital, Islamabad. In normal times, Mehmood's store serves the kind of middle-class shoppers who in recent years have been behind an import-led consumption splurge that propped up growth and helped hide the problems of an economy riddled with inefficiency and without a strong export base.

Thu, 18 Jul 2019 05:20:26 -0400
Puerto Rico: thousands protest governor's sexist and homophobic texts

Puerto Rico: thousands protest governor's sexist and homophobic texts* Ricardo Rossell resisting calls to resign over leaked messages * Ricky Martin and other performers join crowds on streets of San JuanThousands marched in Puerto Rico to demand the resignation of Rossello. Photograph: Eric Rojas/AFP/Getty ImagesAccompanied by some of Puerto Ricos most famous performers, thousands of people marched to the governors residence in San Juan on Wednesday chanting demands for the embattled governor, Ricardo Rossell, to resign after the leak of online chats that show him making misogynistic slurs and mocking his constituents.The crowd ranged from teenagers to retirees, with some waving the islands flag printed in black and gray rather than red, white and blue to symbolize their discontent with a government they call corrupt and unresponsive to its people. Musicians Ricky Martin, Residente and Bad Bunny marched and addressed the crowd.Police erected concrete barricades and shop owners covered store windows with metal sheeting or plywood as if a hurricane were coming. The multicolored umbrellas that form a photogenic awning over the street in front of the governors mansion were taken down.The turnout filled several city blocks in colonial Old San Juan but appeared to fall short of the many tens of thousands that some Rossell opponents had predicted. Many older protesters went home before nightfall as chanting young people filled Old San Juans Totem Plaza and the first few blocks leading up to the 16th century fortress where the governor resides.Karla Villalon has three elementary-age children and an 81-year-old grandmother. Her kids have been uprooted twice in two years when first one school, then another, was closed by budget cuts under Rossell. Her grandmother, a retired teacher, is anguished over the possibility of losing her pension in future rounds of cutbacks.Villalon was outraged when Rossells former education secretary was arrested and accused of steering millions in improper contracts to politically connected contractors. Then hundreds of pages of online chats between Rossell and members of his administration leaked, revealing the men mocking women, the disabled and victims of Hurricane Maria. Villalon has had enough.Its the final straw, the homemaker said before the march. My kids classrooms have mold in them ... Theres just so much outrage thats been building over time.Demonstrators chant and wave Puerto Rican flags in San Juan. Photograph: Gabriella N Baez/ReutersThe Rossell administration has remained under siege since the weekend after leaked text messages between the governor and a number of his inner circle revealed a slew of misogynist and homophobic comments shared between the group.A number of senior members of the administration have already resigned in the wake of the scandal, but on Monday Rossell refused to tender his resignation, claiming that while the messages were inappropriate they were not illegal.Im not proud of what I did, Rossell told reporters on Tuesday. Those were merely comments but they were hurtful comments. So, I apologize for what Ive done but again, I need to move forward and continue on the work were doing for Puerto Rico.The affair only adds to sustained criticism of Rossells leadership as sweeping austerity and privatization measures imposed after Hurricane Maria decimated the island almost two years ago drew public backlash.Puerto Rico, an unincorporated US territory, is in the midst of a multibillion-dollar debt crisis now managed by an unelected oversight board appointed in Washington that oversees much of the islands economic affairs.Shortly before the text message scandal, referred to as RickyLeaks, a number of administration officials and contractors, including the former education secretary Julia Keleher, were arrested by the FBI over allegations of corruption and misappropriation of $15.5m in federal funds apportioned to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.Workers cover shop windows with wood in preparation for protests against Governor Ricardo Rossell near La Fortaleza in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Wednesday. Photograph: Carlos Giusti/APKey figures in the movement to oust Rossell remained hopeful that the protests on Wednesday would remain peaceful.A number of high-profile Puerto Ricans, including the actor and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, singer Ricky Martin and trap artist Benito Martnez Ocasio, known by his stage name Bad Bunny, have also lent vocal support to the protests. Martin and Ocasio are expected to appear at the protests.San Juans firebrand mayor, Carmen Yuln Cruz, an outspoken critic of Rossell, told the Guardian by text message the demonstrations would mark a historic day in Puerto Rico.Cruz, who announced she would challenge Rossell in elections next year, became the face of resistance to the Trump administrations faltering efforts to assist during the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria.Both Mayor Cruz and Ricky Martin also appeared as targets of abuse in the leaked text messages.According to the messages, Rossell referred to Cruz as off her meds while other administration officials mocked Martins sexuality.

Wed, 17 Jul 2019 22:46:04 -0400
Here's Every Single Mission to the Moon in One Chart

Here's Every Single Mission to the Moon in One ChartThe Cold War propelled lunar exploration, but humans last stepped foot on the moon in 1972. Now, a new moon race is on, with new players.

Thu, 18 Jul 2019 11:12:01 -0400
House Vote to Repeal Obamacare Tax Shows Health Care Tension

House Vote to Repeal Obamacare Tax Shows Health Care Tension(Bloomberg) -- The House voted overwhelmingly to repeal a tax Wednesday intended to fund the Affordable Care Act, preserving tax breaks for employer-sponsored insurance plans favored by large corporations.In a reversal of the usual partisan roles, Democrats rather than Republicans led the charge to kill a key part of Obamacare.The bill to repeal the levy commonly known as the Cadillac tax passed 419-6 with bipartisan support. The 40% excise tax on the most generous and expensive employer health-insurance plans was included in Obamacare as a measure that economists said would help curb health costs.Congress kept delaying its implementation so the tax has never actually been collected. Had it gone into effect, it would have hit about one in five employers that offer health benefits to their workers, according to estimates from the Kaiser Family Foundation.The vote to repeal the tax highlights the conflicting forces pulling at Democrats when campaigning versus legislating.Several of the partys presidential candidates led by Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren support replacing nearly all private insurance with a government-run system financed by tax increases. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner in the race, has a less sweeping plan to bolster Obamacare, but it still would offer a public health insurance option funded by tax hikes on the wealthy.But in Congress, Democrats and Republicans are facing pressure from labor unions and large companies to move in the opposite direction by keeping tax advantages for employer-sponsored plans. Supporters of repealing the tax say keeping it in place would force employers to offer less generous health insurance to their workers.Employers can reap large tax savings by compensating their employees in the form of more extensive health insurance, rather than wages, which are subject to payroll taxes. Employer-paid premiums are exempt from federal income and payroll taxes, and the premiums employees pay are also often excluded from taxable income.Changing MindsIve been a supporter of the Cadillac tax because I thought it would lower health care costs, said Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House. But Ive read some additional material on it and its obviously overwhelmingly thought this will not have the effect in terms of raising money or controlling cost that I thought it would have.The dissonance among Democrats about whether to expand or shrink employer-sponsored health coverage makes them look like gymnasts, said Representative Mike Kelly, a Pennsylvania Republican.Where are you on this stuff? he said. Wait a minute, youre all advocating that there be no such thing as employer-sponsored coverage.The repeated delays in imposing the Cadillac tax delays mean that Congress was never able to test whether it would curb the explosion of health care spending, which has risen an average 4.2% every quarter between 2010 and 2018, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.The repeal also would mean that the Treasury Department wont collect the $201 billion the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated it would raise over a decade.Obamacare TaxesObamacare included several other tax increases, including a 3.8% tax on investment income and a 0.9% levy on wages for top-earners. The portion of the law that was supposed to be financed through the Cadillac tax instead would be paid for through deficit spending, unless lawmakers propose a last-minute tax increase to offset the cost.Democrats have generally opposed measures to chip away at President Barack Obamas signature legislative achievement, but the Cadillac tax has been unpopular since it became part of the code.The measure to repeal it, H.R. 748, was passed under a fast-track procedure requiring two-thirds support among House members.Yet popularity doesnt necessarily mean good policy, said Marc Goldwein, senior vice president at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Politicians dont like the tax on health benefits, but nearly every economist thinks the Cadillac tax or a similar measure is necessary to help slow the rise in health-care costs and curb overuse of health services, he added.Just because its bipartisan doesnt mean its good, he said.Not all Democrats are on board with eliminating the tax. Representative Ron Kind, a Wisconsin Democrat, said he opposes the repeal because the cost isnt offset and there wasnt any discussion about how scuttling the tax would affect the Affordable Care Act overall.I think we are lapsing into some very bad habits in the majority, he said. We need to start instilling some fiscal discipline in this place and making some tough decisions.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, hasnt committed to addressing the issue in his chamber. Because the repeal effort is led by Democrats, it sets up a path for McConnell to use it as a vehicle to attach Republican tax priorities, such as correcting errors in the 2017 tax law or extending several expired tax breaks that benefit the biodiesel and energy industries.Weve kicked the can down the road for so long on this one that the assumption is that its never going to go into effect, said Representative Dan Kildee, a Michigan Democrat. Theres a certain inevitability to this one getting repealed.\--With assistance from Emily Wilkins.To contact the reporter on this story: Laura Davison in Washington at ldavison4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Laurie AssoFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Wed, 17 Jul 2019 18:58:51 -0400
New bill would guarantee free legal representation for illegal immigrants seeking asylum

New bill would guarantee free legal representation for illegal immigrants seeking asylumA Democrat lawmaker introduces the Equal Justice for Immigrants Act to guarantee the right to counsel for illegal immigrants. Judge Alex Ferrer reacts.

Thu, 18 Jul 2019 08:16:10 -0400
Delaware woman who says she was brutally beaten in the Dominican Republic sues resort for $3 million

Delaware woman who says she was brutally beaten in the Dominican Republic sues resort for $3 millionThe Delaware woman who claims she was beaten unconscious in the Dominican Republic has sued the resort for $3 million.

Thu, 18 Jul 2019 07:07:28 -0400
Family mourns 6-year-old girl killed by father's golf shot

Family mourns 6-year-old girl killed by father's golf shotRelatives of a 6-year-old Utah girl who died after her father accidentally struck her with a golf ball are remembering her as a loving, playful child. Aria Hill's uncle David Smith described her as a happy child who greeted strangers and enjoyed spending time with her parents. Police say the ball struck Hill in the back of the head on Monday morning, while the father and daughter were out golfing with Hill's uncle, Brayden Hill, at Sleepy Ridge Golf Course in Orem about 40 miles (65 kilometers) south of Salt Lake City.

Thu, 18 Jul 2019 14:02:30 -0400
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