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Readers write: Winning over voters, best columnists, complicated topic, help for teens

Readers write: Winning over voters, best columnists, complicated topic, help for teens Thank you for the Focus article in the June 26 issue about Rep. Cheri Bustos, “A Democrat who woos Trump voters.” Republicans and Trump supporters are not our enemies. Ms. Bustos got it right by engaging in conversations with her constituents at their workplaces and in local grocery stores about what matters most to them. Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?


Flooding threatens U.S. Mid-Atlantic, central Appalachians

Flooding threatens U.S. Mid-Atlantic, central Appalachians (Reuters) - Heavy rains will drench the U.S. Mid-Atlantic and central Appalachians on Saturday after flooding overnight closed roadways and forced water rescues across the region, forecasters said. A swathe of land from eastern North Carolina up through Washington D.C. and southern Pennsylvania could expect an additional 2 to 5 inches (5 to 13 cm) on Saturday after more than 4 inches (10 cm) fell in parts of the region, the National Weather Service said in advisories. "Flash flooding from heavy rain will cause a potentially life threatening situation overnight," the National Weather Service said early on Saturday morning in flash flood warnings and watches it issued for the region.


Ford to repair U.S. police vehicles after carbon monoxide concerns

Ford to repair U.S. police vehicles after carbon monoxide concerns Ford Motor Co said Friday it will pay to repair police versions of its Ford Explorer SUVs to correct possible carbon monoxide leaks that may be linked to crashes and injuries after U.S. regulators escalated an investigation into 1.33 million vehicles. Ford said it will cover the costs of specific repairs in every Police Interceptor Explorer SUVs that may be tied to after-market installation of police equipment. "If the holes are not properly sealed, it creates an opening where exhaust could enter the cabin," Ford said in a statement.


DoubleLine's Gundlach sues California wine merchant over bogus Bordeaux

DoubleLine's Gundlach sues California wine merchant over bogus Bordeaux Jeffrey Gundlach, one of the world's best-known bond investors, has sued a California wine merchant he said sold him several dozen bottles of fake wine, including Bordeaux that experts consider among the greatest wines ever made. In lawsuits filed on Friday, the founder of DoubleLine Capital claimed that at least 67 bottles he bought from Soutirage were fake, and that it would cost more than $1 million to replace them.


Trump replaces chief of staff Priebus with retired General Kelly

Trump replaces chief of staff Priebus with retired General Kelly President Donald Trump replaced his beleaguered White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, after only six months on the job on Friday, installing retired General John Kelly in his place in a major shake-up of his top team. Trump announced the move in a tweet a day after his new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, accused Priebus of leaking information to reporters in a profanity-laced tirade. Kelly, 67, a retired four-star Marine Corps general, is currently secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and will assume the chief of staff post on Monday.


U.S. West Coast dockworkers ratify contract extension with shippers

U.S. West Coast dockworkers ratify contract extension with shippers Dockworkers at 29 ports in California, Oregon and Washington are expected to ratify a three-year extension of their contract with shipping companies, union officials said on Friday, likely ensuring labor peace on the West Coast waterfront until at least 2022. Early returns from ballots cast by members of the International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) showed 67 percent of the rank-and-file voting in favor of the contract extension, the union said in a statement. The current contract was agreed to in February 2015 after nine months of negotiations between the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents major shippers and terminal operators along the West Coast.


Chicago sugary drink tax to take effect next week after ruling

Chicago sugary drink tax to take effect next week after ruling By Julia Jacobs CHICAGO (Reuters) - A sweetened beverage tax will take effect in Chicago on Wednesday after an Illinois judge threw out a lawsuit by retailers that argued the measure was vague and unlawful. Cook County, which includes Chicago and surrounding suburbs, joins a growing number of localities across the United States that have adopted measures to cut consumption of sugary drinks for health reasons, including Seattle and San Francisco. Cook County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Kubasiak decided in the county's favor on Friday, about a month after he had halted implementation of the penny-per-ounce tax in response to the lawsuit by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.


Trump replaces chief of staff Priebus with retired General Kelly

Trump replaces chief of staff Priebus with retired General Kelly By Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump replaced his beleaguered White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, after only six months on the job on Friday, installing retired General John Kelly in his place in a major shake-up of his top team. Trump announced the move in a tweet a day after his new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, accused Priebus of leaking information to reporters in a profanity-laced tirade. Kelly, 67, who retired from the Marine Corps, was most recently secretary for the Department of Homeland Security.


New York spent legal settlement funds on budget relief: comptroller

New York spent legal settlement funds on budget relief: comptroller Half of the money spent so far from New York state's $10 billion in legal settlement windfall has gone to support the state budget rather than the capital projects for which it should be used, the state's chief fiscal watchdog said on Friday. Of the huge pot of funds that has streamed in since 2014, mostly from banks accused of wrongdoing in the recession, Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration has spent just $3.15 billion so far.


Hundreds of counties at risk for no Obamacare insurer in 2018

Hundreds of counties at risk for no Obamacare insurer in 2018 By Caroline Humer NEW YORK (Reuters) - With Republican efforts to dismantle Obamacare in disarray, hundreds of U.S. counties are at risk of losing access to private health coverage in 2018 as insurers consider pulling out of those markets in the coming months. Republican senators failed this week to repeal and replace Obamacare, former President Barack Obama's signature healthcare reform law, creating new uncertainty over how the program providing health benefits to 20 million Americans will be funded and managed in 2018. In response, Republican President Donald Trump on Friday again suggested that his administration would let the Obamacare program “implode.” He has weakened enforcement of the law’s requirement for individuals to buy insurance, threatened to cut off funding and sought to change plan benefits through regulations.


Struggling to govern, Trump faces growing Republican unease

Struggling to govern, Trump faces growing Republican unease By Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As fellow Republicans labored to repeal Obamacare this week, U.S. President Donald Trump repeatedly swerved off-topic, escalating concerns in his party about his ability to govern the country six months after taking office. While senators grappled with healthcare, Trump banned transgender people from the military. In the end, the Senate's efforts collapsed in a predawn vote on Friday, magnifying the ineffectiveness that often goes with the chaos around Trump, the constant storm of tweets, the White House infighting, the self-inflicted wounds.


South Carolina court delays same-sex domestic violence ruling

South Carolina court delays same-sex domestic violence ruling The court had ruled on Wednesday that the state's domestic violence law violated constitutional rights to equal protection by setting out gender-based designations for household members, defining them as either male or female. Friday's stay was issued pending a motion for a hearing but no court dates have been set, said Robert Kittle, a spokesman for South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson.


U.S. appeals court lets Louisiana inmate keep dreadlocks

U.S. appeals court lets Louisiana inmate keep dreadlocks Ware argued the grooming policies violated the U.S. Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), which allows for reasonable accommodations when possible for inmates to maintain their religious beliefs. The Louisiana Department of Corrections (DOC), a defendant in the suit, is reviewing the court's decision and exploring its options, department spokesman Ken Pastorick said in an email. The appeals court said the department did not provide adequate reasoning why it could not make an accommodation in this case for the inmate.


Trump replaces chief of staff Reince Priebus with homeland security chief John Kelly

Trump replaces chief of staff Reince Priebus with homeland security chief John Kelly President Trump said Friday that he had replaced embattled White House chief of staff Reince Priebus with Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly.


How some lawmakers see a way to work together on health care

How some lawmakers see a way to work together on health care Arizona Sen. John McCain, who defied illness this week and traveled to Washington to give the GOP health plan a decisive push forward, instead has dealt it a death blow. “I urge my colleagues to trust each other, stop political games& put health needs of American ppl 1st. Regaining trust is a very tall order in a Congress that just went through six months of a highly partisan effort by Republicans to fulfill their campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare.


U.S. proposes cigarette nicotine cut, shift toward e-cigarettes

U.S. proposes cigarette nicotine cut, shift toward e-cigarettes By Toni Clarke WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government proposed cutting nicotine in cigarettes to "non-addictive" levels on Friday in a major regulatory shift designed to move smokers toward potentially less harmful e-cigarettes. Shares of major tobacco companies in the United States and UK slumped in heavy trading volume after the proposal was unveiled by the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, with the world's biggest producers losing about $26 billion of market value. "Nicotine itself is not responsible for the cancer, the lung disease and heart disease that kill hundreds of thousands of Americans each year," FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said.


Honolulu targets 'smartphone zombies' with crosswalk ban

Honolulu targets 'smartphone zombies' with crosswalk ban Starting Oct. 25, Honolulu pedestrians can be fined between $15 and $99, depending on the number of times police catch them looking at a phone or tablet device as they cross the street, Mayor Kirk Caldwell told reporters gathered near one of the city's busiest downtown intersections on Thursday. "We hold the unfortunate distinction of being a major city with more pedestrians being hit in crosswalks, particularly our seniors, than almost any other city in the county," Caldwell said. Honolulu data on distracted-walking incidents was not immediately available.


With less drama and more to lose than McCain, two GOP women cast equally crucial votes on health bill

With less drama and more to lose than McCain, two GOP women cast equally crucial votes on health bill In a dramatic and unexpected turn of events, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., cast the decisive vote against the Senate health care bill after midnight Thursday, after telling reporters to “watch the show” to see where he stood on the bill. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who had consistently opposed the Obamacare repeal in the face of pressure from the Trump administration and a (presumably jocular) threat of a duel from a congressman from Texas. The three were joined by every Senate Democrat to sink the “skinny repeal,” the Republicans’ last-ditch effort to undo the Affordable Care Act.


How a 20-million-person crisis goes unseen

How a 20-million-person crisis goes unseen Battered by drought and civil wars, more than 20 million people from Yemen to Tanzania are at risk of starvation in what aid workers call the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II. But over the past two decades, nations that once produced searing images of famine's toll have moved to thwart it by strengthening community resilience. The world is facing its worst humanitarian crisis since World War II, with 20 million people on the brink of famine, and hardly anybody knows about it.


Brooklyn jurors to begin deliberating in Martin Shkreli's fraud case

Brooklyn jurors to begin deliberating in Martin Shkreli's fraud case The fate of former drug company executive Martin Shkreli now rests with jurors in Brooklyn federal court, who will begin deliberating Monday morning after a month-long trial. Shkreli, 34, is best known for raising the price of anti-infection drug Daraprim by 5,000 percent in 2015 as chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals. The charges he now faces relate not to Turing but to Shkreli's management of his previous drug company, Retrophin Inc, and hedge funds MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare, between 2009 and 2014.


Trump, vowing gang crackdown, urges cops ‘don’t be too nice’

Trump, vowing gang crackdown, urges cops ‘don’t be too nice’ In a speech about the violent MS-13 gang, President Trump encouraged police officers not to be “too nice” with “thugs” when putting them in the back of police vans.


Nuclear diplomacy: Can Trump isolate Iran without isolating US?

Nuclear diplomacy: Can Trump isolate Iran without isolating US? Perhaps it was all the other fires the White House has burning that prompted President Trump to begrudgingly approve another 90-day certification of Iran’s compliance with a nuclear deal he has long promised to scuttle. Recommended: How much do you know about Iran? Pulling out of the Iran accord would complete a trifecta of withdrawals from international agreements that Trump inherited from President Obama.


Trump to cite gang violence in New York town in pressing for deportations

Trump to cite gang violence in New York town in pressing for deportations By Roberta Rampton and Mica Rosenberg WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - President Donald Trump arrived in New York on Friday for a visit to a community shocked by a recent spate of graphic gang murders to highlight his efforts to stop illegal immigration and boost deportations. Trump's trip to Brentwood on Long Island east of the city gives the president an opportunity to showcase some progress on his agenda even as his push to overhaul healthcare failed in Congress - and some respite from the chaos of a nasty power struggle among his senior staff that blew up on Thursday. Trump will highlight his administration's push to deport members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang, better known as MS-13, the existence of which his White House blames on lax enforcement of illegal immigration from Central America.


Exclusive: Majority of Americans support transgender military service - poll

Exclusive: Majority of Americans support transgender military service - poll By Chris Kahn NEW YORK (Reuters) - A majority of Americans believe that transgender individuals should be allowed to serve in the military, according to an exclusive Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Friday. The July 26-28 poll suggested that the country largely disagrees with President Donald Trump's announcement this week that he will ban transgender personnel from the armed forces.


Robot that dived into Washington, D.C., fountain not victim of 'foul play'

Robot that dived into Washington, D.C., fountain not victim of 'foul play' Its Silicon Valley-based maker, Knightscope Inc., said data from STEVE's "black box," as well as video and tests, showed the unscheduled water stop was caused not by foul play or rain, but by an algorithm failing to detect the uneven surface, resulting in a skid. "...Developing state-of-the-art autonomous technology must be done in real-world environments. It is not commercially reasonable to be developed in constrained laboratory settings," Knightscope said in a statement.


Regulator letter to railroad CSX highlights customer complaints

Regulator letter to railroad CSX highlights customer complaints A letter from the top U.S. rail regulator to CSX Corp this week highlights growing customer dissatisfaction with the No. 3 U.S. railroad's service problems since its new chief executive officer Hunter Harrison was appointed to the spot amid investor and analyst fanfare in March. The Surface Transportation Board's (STB) July 27 letter to Harrison, a septuagenarian railroad legend famed for turning around two Canadian railroads - Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd and Canadian National Railway Co , lists a litany of complaints about CSX's service.


U.S. regulators approve 2017 Fiat Chrysler diesel vehicles for sale

U.S. regulators approve 2017 Fiat Chrysler diesel vehicles for sale By David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles won approval from U.S. and California regulators on Friday to sell 2017 diesel vehicles after it came under scrutiny for alleged excess emissions in older diesel vehicles. Fiat Chrysler hopes to use updated emissions software in the 2017 vehicles as the basis of a fix to address agencies' concerns over 2014-2016 Fiat Chrysler diesel vehicles after the Justice Department sued the automaker in May, alleging excess emissions.


Protesters across the country oppose GOP's health care plan

Protesters across the country oppose GOP's health care plan Here’s a look at protests across the country in opposition to the GOP health care bill.


U.S. Justice Department says anti-bias law does not protect gay workers

U.S. Justice Department says anti-bias law does not protect gay workers (In this July 27 story, corrects paragraph 7 to reflect that Zarda died in a BASE-jumping accident, not a skydiving accident) By Daniel Wiessner (Reuters) - The Trump administration told a U.S. appeals court that federal law does not ban discrimination against gay employees, a sharp reversal of the position former President Barack Obama took on a key civil rights issue. The U.S. Department of Justice, in a friend of the court brief, told the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan on Wednesday that Congress never intended Title VII, which bans sex discrimination in the workplace, to apply to gay workers.


U.S. upgrades probe into 1.33 million Ford Explorers over exhaust odors

U.S. upgrades probe into 1.33 million Ford Explorers over exhaust odors By David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is upgrading and expanding a probe into 1.33 million Ford Explorer SUVs over reports of exhaust odors in vehicle compartments and exposure to carbon monoxide that may be linked to crashes and injuries. The auto safety agency said in a statement on Thursday it was aware of more than 2,700 complaints and three crashes that may be linked to exposure to carbon monoxide and 41 injuries among police and civilian vehicles in the probe covering 2011-2017 model year Ford Explorer sport utility vehicles. Ford has issued multiple technical service bulletins related to the exhaust odor issue to address complaints from police fleets and other owners, NHTSA said.


McCain’s ‘no’ vote on GOP health bill elicits gasps in Senate chamber

McCain’s ‘no’ vote on GOP health bill elicits gasps in Senate chamber Sen. John McCain lived up to his nickname, “maverick,” in voting against his fellow Republicans on the “skinny” amendment to repeal and replace Obamacare.


McConnell lashes out at GOP defectors, Democrats in aftermath of 'disappointing' health care vote

McConnell lashes out at GOP defectors, Democrats in aftermath of 'disappointing' health care vote An angry Sen. Mitch McConnell rebuked Democrats and Republicans who voted against the GOP health care plan early Friday morning.


Democrats line up to take on ‘Putin’s favorite congressman’

Democrats line up to take on ‘Putin’s favorite congressman’ Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., has won reelection from Orange County 14 times, but he’ll face more opponents next year than any other congressman.


Senate prepares to vote on 'skinny repeal' of Obamacare

Senate prepares to vote on 'skinny repeal' of Obamacare Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., at long last introduced the text of his "skinny repeal" health care plan for a midnight vote on Thursday night.


Texas executes man who stabbed woman to death at her home

Texas executes man who stabbed woman to death at her home Texas executed on Thursday a man convicted of murdering a woman by stabbing her repeatedly after breaking into her San Antonio home in 2004. TaiChin Preyor, 46, died by lethal injection at the state's death chamber in Huntsville, a prisons official said. The execution was delayed for more than three hours to allow the U.S. Supreme Court time to hear an appeal from Preyor's lawyer to spare his life, which the court rejected.


Kansas governor tapped as religious ambassador reflects on legacy

Kansas governor tapped as religious ambassador reflects on legacy The two-term Republican addressed both topics at a news conference in Topeka a day after the White House announced that he would soon be nominated as U.S. ambassador at large for international religious freedom, a State Department post. Brownback, who previously represented his home state in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, was a sponsor of the 1998 law that created the diplomatic post he now aspires to fill.


Congressional Budget Office showdown: GOP tries to shoot the messenger, misses

Congressional Budget Office showdown: GOP tries to shoot the messenger, misses Angry over CBO projections that made Obamacare repeal bills look bad, some GOP House members tried to scale back the influence of the nonpartisan budget analysts. They failed.


Texas execution of murderer delayed as court hears appeal

Texas execution of murderer delayed as court hears appeal A planned execution in Texas on Thursday of a man convicted of murdering a woman in her San Antonio home in 2004 was delayed as the U.S. Supreme Court heard a last-minute appeal from lawyers for the death row inmate to spare his life. If the execution goes ahead, it would be the 543rd in Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state. Lawyers for Preyor launched the appeal at the court on Thursday, arguing that prior counsel was incompetent and included a lawyer who lost his license two decades earlier and another attorney with no death penalty experience who used Wikipedia to navigate the Texas death penalty system.


Dutch manufacturer suspends ride that killed 1 at Ohio fair

Dutch manufacturer suspends ride that killed 1 at Ohio fair The notice from KMG International BV came as several states said they had temporarily shut or were further inspecting rides similar to the "Fireball," which police in Columbus, Ohio, said flung the victims into the air on Wednesday after their seats snapped off. "We are currently gathering information on the accident and investigating the cause and circumstances," KMG product manager Albert Kroon said in a statement. Following the death of Tyler Jarrell, 18, in Ohio, at least nine other states, a New Jersey county fair and a Canadian city said they were suspending or reinspecting similar rides.


U.S. jury finds Macau billionaire guilty in U.N. bribery case

U.S. jury finds Macau billionaire guilty in U.N. bribery case A U.S. jury on Thursday found Macau billionaire Ng Lap Seng guilty on charges he bribed two United Nations ambassadors to help him build a multibillion-dollar conference center. Ng, 69, was convicted on all six counts he faced, including bribery, money laundering and corruption, in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan. "In his unbridled pursuit of even greater personal fortune, billionaire Ng Lap Seng corrupted the highest levels of the United Nations," Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said after the verdict.