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July 3, 2015

First Line News Articles for Friday, July 3 2015

Top Stories

US reportedly blocks Arab allies’ attempts to deliver weapons to Kurds fighting ISIS

The U.S. has reportedly blocked any attempts by Middle East allies to fly weapons to the Kurds fighting the Islamic State in Iraq.

White House Gears Up for Domestic-Policy Offensive

While President Barack Obama‘s top foreign-policy initiatives–particularly on Cuba, trade and Iran–have dominated the headlines lately, the White House is gearing up for a domestic policy push that’s largely been under the radar.

Berlin to meet U.S. ambassador over spying reports: source

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff will meet the U.S. ambassador on Thursday to discuss allegations that U.S. spies bugged senior government ministers, a German government source said.

UK Minister: Illogical to Attack IS in Iraq but Not Syria

Britain’s defense minister says lawmakers should consider expanding Royal Air Force airstrikes against the Islamic State from Iraq into Syria.

LDS News

Public Invited to Join #Fairness4All Discussion at BYU Religious Freedom Conference

Brigham Young University is hosting a religious freedom conference next week and the public is invited to attend.

Hot Climate Missions are Throwing Out the Suit Coats

In a short statement on their blog, the Mormon Newsroom staff said certain missions in hot climates will no longer require missionaries, especially elders, to wear or even bring suit coats.

‘A beautiful day’ in Haiti: Early converts reflect on church growth, temple announcement

Following the announcement of a new temple in Port-au-Prince, two early Haitian converts reflect on the growth of the LDS Church in that Caribbean nation.

Elder Ballard, other LDS Church leaders explain need for better Sabbath day observance in new video

A question-and-answer video released Thursday on MormonNewsroom.org encourages members to improve Sabbath day observance.

Choir and orchestra thrill audiences in Maryland and New York

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square have completed the first portion of their Atlantic Coast Tour, performing concerts in Bethesda, Maryland; and in Bethel and Sartoga Springs, New York.

‘Just a do-it guy’

Michael Spencer has never let the fact that he is missing one arm hold him back from playing the cello, piano and trumpet or play sports.

Stephen Rockwood named new FamilySearch president and CEO

FamilySearch International announced Wednesday that president and chief executive officer Dennis Brimhall is retiring, and Stephen T. Rockwood has been selected to take his place starting Oct. 1.

National

Congressional pressure building on Obama as Iran talks drag out

The Obama administration’s decision to send Iranian nuclear talks into overtime is triggering a backlash on Capitol Hill, as congressional Republicans warn Tehran is exploiting the situation and moving the goalposts.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker entering 2016 presidential race

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a preacher’s son who withstood a recall election spawned by his fight with public employee unions, is joining the crowded Republican presidential race, aides said.

Many but not all in GOP object as US, Cuba plan embassies

Loud but hardly universal catcalls from Republicans underscored the obstacles and opportunities ahead as U.S. and Cuban leaders announced an opening of embassies in Havana and Washington and a resumption of diplomatic relations severed the year President Barack Obama was born.

After trade deal, Obama seeks to repair rift with labor

After the push for trade legislation ruptured relations between the White House and organized labor, President Barack Obama is embarking on something of a repair mission.

Top American diplomat in Cuba in line to head new embassy

From his office high above Havana, Jeffrey DeLaurentis has a sweeping view of the cerulean Florida Straits and the blood-red letters declaring Cuba’s defiance of the United States.

Montana Polygamist Seeks ‘Legitimacy’ After Supreme Court Ruling

On Tuesday, Nathan Collier went to the Yellowstone County Courthouse in his hometown of Billings, Montana, to register to get married to his partner Christine. The problem? Collier has been married to wife Victoria since 2000. And under Montana law, bigamy is outlawed except for faith reasons; Collier is not marrying Christine and Victoria due to his religious beliefs, making his marriage license illegal under bigamy laws.

Texas AG Being Investigated For 1st Degree Felony Securities Fraud

A special prosecutor says Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton faces first degree felony charges for securities fraud.

Tornado hits outside Kansas City, Missouri, damaging buildings

A tornado hit Lee’s Summit, Missouri, outside Kansas City on Wednesday evening, causing damage to several buildings and overturning a fireworks trailer, the city’s fire department said.

A Look at the Hazardous Chemical That Forced Thousands to Evacuate After Train Caught on Fire

The chemical that was being transported on the train that caught fire in Tennessee is called vinyl cyandide, and it has vapors that explode when exposed to fire, authorities said today.

Tennessee Train Derailment: 5,000 Residents Evacuated From Maryville

More than 5,000 residents were evacuated after a freight train carrying a “highly flammable and toxic gas” partly derailed and caught fire early Thursday just outside Knoxville, Tennessee, officials said.

World

Egypt vows to ‘purify’ Sinai Peninsula of militants linked to ISIS

Egypt has vowed to “purify’’ the volatile Sinai Peninsula after ¬insurgents allied to Islamic State launched bloody attacks on -soldiers and police, killing dozens.

Russia says published U.S. military plan is ‘confrontational,’ lacks objectivity

Russia criticized a newly-published U.S. military strategy, referring to it as confrontational and lacking objectivity toward Russia.

8 Are Arrested in Connection With Tunisia Attack

The Tunisian authorities said on Thursday that eight people had been arrested in connection with the massacre of 38 foreign tourists at the beachside resort of Sousse last Friday.

IMF warns Greece needs debt extension, may require writedown

The International Monetary Fund warned on Thursday that Greece would need an extension of its European Union loans and a large debt writeoff if it grows more slowly than expected and economic reforms are not implemented.

Ferry capsizes in the Philippines; at least 36 dead

A boat carrying 189 people has capsized in the central Philippines, minutes after leaving port, the Philippine Red Cross said Thursday.

The case for Greece: when it forgave Germany’s debt

Forgiving debt, if done right, can get an economy back on its feet.

Child labour on the rise among Syrian children as crisis spirals – agencies

The number of Syrian children being forced to work keeps growing as the conflict drags on, with those as young as six reportedly working in Lebanon, two aid agencies warned on Thursday.

Russian aviation official says Dutch draft MH17 crash report doesn’t give full picture

A Russian aviation official says a draft Dutch report into last year’s crash of Malaysian Airlines flight 17 in eastern Ukraine “raises more questions than it gives answers.”

South China Sea: Images suggest Chinese airstrip on man-made island could soon be operational

China has almost finished building a 3,000-metre-long airstrip on one of its artificial islands in the disputed Spratly archipelago of the South China Sea, new satellite photographs of the area show.

U.S. Imposes Sanctions on South Sudanese Commanders

The U.S. Department of the Treasury said Thursday it imposed sanctions on both sides of a civil war in South Sudan, targeting a military commander and an opposition commander.

Business

Justice Department reaches $18.7 billion agreement in principle with BP

The Justice Department announced Thursday an $18.7 billion agreement with BP to settle civil claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico–the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

BBC Plans to Cut 1,000 Jobs Amid Funding Shortfall

The British Broadcasting Corp. will axe more than 1,000 jobs by merging some divisions, cutting management and simplifying areas like marketing, human resources and IT.

Whole Foods Admits to Sometimes Overcharging Customers

Following an investigation that revealed the grocery store chain Whole Foods was overcharging customers in New York City for some products, the company released a video Wednesday vowing to fix the problem.

Culture

Sesame Street actress Sonia Manzano to retire as Maria after 45 years

Sesame Street actress Sonia Manzano, who played Maria Rodriquez on the beloved children’s television program, is retiring after nearly 45 years.

Why Was Whistler’s Mom Such a Grump?

James McNeill Whistler’s 1871 painting best known as “Whistler’s Mother” depicts an unsmiling matriarch locked forever at age 67, eyes failing, ailing in a damp city, bad teeth hidden behind a set jaw.

This Graphic Shows How Many Hot Dogs It Takes to Win the Nathan’s Eating Contest

They scarf down a lot more than they used to

Science

Rosetta spacecraft finds massive sinkholes on comet’s surface

The comet being studied by Europe’s Rosetta spacecraft has massive sinkholes in its surface that are nearly wide enough to swallow Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza, research published on Wednesday shows.

Health

FDA clears drug for leading form of cystic fibrosis

Federal health officials have approved a new combination drug for the most common form of cystic fibrosis, the debilitating inherited disease that causes internal mucus buildup, lung infections and early death.

Weight-loss surgery better than diet and exercise in treating type 2 diabetes, study finds

A growing body of evidence suggests that weight-loss surgery is more effective than diet and exercise at getting rid of Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes drug’s happy side effect: Weight loss

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that taking daily shots of liraglutide (marketed as Saxenda) can help overweight or obese patients lose weight — a lot of it. Patients taking the medication lost an average of more than 12 pounds, twice as much as those on a placebo, after 56 weeks.

Economy

U.S. Economy Adds 223,000 Jobs; Unemployment at 5.3%

The economy added a healthy 223,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department reported Thursday, but other indicators, showing wages growing slowly and jobless Americans remaining on the sidelines, painted a grayer picture.