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IT40 News for 07/08/2018

dday dangerous mission thai cave rescue
Children look at pictures of students before relatives and friends pray for the 12 schoolboys and their soccer coach trapped inside a flooded cave, at Mesai Grace Church in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 8, 2018. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
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IT40

#1 “D-Day”: dangerous mission underway to save Thai boys trapped in cave

THAM LUANG CAVE, Thailand, July 8 (Reuters) - A dangerous mission to rescue 12 Thai schoolboys and their soccer coach trapped inside a flooded cave for more than two weeks began on Sunday and authorities said the first survivor may emerge around 11 hours later. 

Thirteen foreign divers and five members of Thailand's elite navy SEAL unit are trying to bring the boys - some as young as 11 and weak swimmers – through narrow, submerged passageways that claimed the life of a former Thai navy diver on Friday.

Their ordeal has drawn huge media attention in Thailand and abroad, and getting the boys out safely could be a boost for Thailand's ruling junta ahead of a general election next year.

"Today is D-Day," Narongsak Osottanakorn, head of the rescue mission, told reporters. "At 10 a.m. today (0300 GMT) 13 foreign divers went in to extract the children along with five Thai navy SEALs."

He said the first boys – who have spent 15 nights trapped some 4 km (2.5 miles) inside the flooded cave - could emerge around 9 p.m. local time (1400 GMT).

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#2 Trump administration takes another major swipe at the Affordable Care Act

The Trump administration took another major swipe at the Affordable Care Act, halting billions of dollars in annual payments required under the law to even out the cost to insurers whose customers need expensive medical services.

In a rare Saturday afternoon announcement, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said it will stop collecting and paying out money under the ACA’s “risk adjustment” program, drawing swift protest from the health insurance industry.

Risk adjustment is one of three methods built into the 2010 health-care law to help insulate insurance companies from the ACA requirement that they accept all customers for the first time — healthy and sick — without charging more to those who need substantial care.

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The other two methods were temporary, but risk adjustment is permanent. Federal health officials are required each year to calculate which insurers with relatively low-cost consumers must chip in to a fund, and which ones with more expensive customers are owed money. This idea of pooling risk has had significant practical effects: encouraging insurers to participate in the insurance marketplaces the ACA created for Americans who cannot get affordable health benefits through a job.

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#3 18 divers enter Thai cave as deadline looms to save trapped soccer team

The first two schoolboys have reportedly been brought out 'alive and well' after divers executed a carefully constructed rescue mission.

The starved and exhausted pair are receiving treatment at the cave entrance before being taken to hospital, according to a local police chief.

'Two kids are out. They are currently at the field hospital near the cave,' said Tossathep Boonthong, chief of Chiang Rai’s health department and part of the rescue team.

'We are giving them a physical examination. They have not been moved to Chiang Rai hospital yet.'

A military helicopter believed to be carrying the first two rescued schoolboys takes off near the caves and heads for Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital 35miles away

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#4 Trump Zeroes In on Supreme Court Pick

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump headed into the weekend still undecided about whom he will pick for the Supreme Court, but people familiar with the process said they believe he is moving toward selecting Judge Brett Kavanaugh ahead of a Monday announcement.

Mr. Trump was to discuss the pick Friday night at dinner with Vice President Mike Pence, who personally met this week with Judges Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Raymond Kethledge. Mr. Pence hasn’t met with any of the other candidates, according to a White House official.

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#5 Comcast or Capital One calling? It may be a robocall scam. Here are the top 10

Corrections & Clarifications: This article has been updated to clarify that some of the most frequent robocalls include legitimate payment and debt collection calls. 

Wondering whether you should pick up that random number that just called? 

Chances are, it's a robocall, and it may be a scam. 

Robocalls have been on the rise in the United States: An estimated 4.1 billion robocalls were made nationwide in June alone, according to data compiled by YouMail, an app that aims to prevent robocalls by playing an out-of-service message from your phone. Since February this year, the number of robocalls made to phone users across the country has risen more than 40 percent, it says.

Most of the time, these robocalls are after people's money. With the rapid improvement of phone caller ID – which, on most cellphones, can now warn you of an incoming potential scam call – and the proliferation of apps designed to screen for fake calls, the number of robocalls that actually get picked up on the first try is declining, according to YouMail CEO Alex Quilici. 

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#6 ‘He loved them more than himself’: How a 25-year-old former monk kept the Thai soccer team alive

MAE SAI, Thailand —The head coach of the Thai soccer team spent the morning of June 23 preparing his young assistant for an important task: looking out for the boys by himself.

Nopparat Khanthavong, the 37-year-old head coach of the Moo Pa (Wild Boars) soccer team, had an appointment that morning. Ekapol Chanthawong, his assistant, was to take the younger boys to a soccer field nestled by the Doi Nang Non mountain range, a formation with numerous waterfalls and caves that straddles the Thai-Myanmar border.

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“Make sure you ride your bicycle behind them when you are traveling around, so you can keep a lookout,” he wrote in a Facebook message he shared with The Washington Post. Ekapol coaches the younger boys, so Nopparat told him to bring some of the boys from the older team for additional eyes.

“Take care,” he wrote.

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#7 Elon Musk Thinks a Minisubmarine Could Help in Thai Cave Rescue

Engineers from companies led by Elon Musk, the billionaire known for outside-the-box ideas like his aspiration to colonize Mars, were en route to Thailand on Saturday to offer their expertise to help rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach from the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand.

The engineers were sent from Tesla, Mr. Musk’s electric vehicle company; SpaceX, his rocket company; and the Boring Company, which specializes in tunneling and construction, a Boring Company spokesman said.

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There are two or three engineers on the ground in Thailand, with more on the way, the spokesman said. He said representatives from the companies were in discussions with the Thai government about how they could help.

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#8 California wildfires: Homeowners come home to ash and rubble

Eric Durtschi and his family moved to Santa Barbara County two weeks ago. Their home is now a dusty pile of ash and mangled metal, torched by a fast-moving fire in Southern California.

"It's really hard to see. We saw it burning live on TV," he told CNN affiliate KTLA.

The family was watching a movie Friday night when their daughter smelled smoke. The Holiday fire -- one of nearly a dozen wildfires ravaging the western United States -- was quickly approaching.

Durtschi's home was among 20 structures destroyed by the fire weeks after he moved from Idaho.

"We have six kids, and I want them to know this isn't the end," Durtschi said. "It's fine, we're all alive."

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#9 Death toll climbs to 76 as heavy rains hammer southern Japan

Heavy rainfall in Japan leave dozens killed and injured, with over 1.6 million people evacuated.

(Pictured) People are rescued by fire fighters on July 8, in Kurashiki, Japan.

Mabi town is flooded on July 8, after the collapse of the Oda river embankment a day prior, in Kurishiki.

Rescue workers look at a damaged house following heavy rains and flooding in Hiroshima, on July 8.

Slideshow by photo services

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#10 Bookstore owner calls police after customer confronted Steve Bannon

A Richmond, Virginia, bookstore owner said he called the police on Saturday after former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon was confronted in his store.

Nick Cooke, owner of Black Swan Books, told The Richmond Times-Dispatch that a woman called Bannon a "piece of trash."

The woman then left the store after Cooke said he called 911.

"Steve Bannon was simply standing, looking at books, minding his own business. I asked her to leave, and she wouldn't. And I said, 'I'm going to call the police if you don't,' and I went to call the police and she left," Cooke said. "And that's the end of the story."

Bannon grew up in Richmond, the newspaper noted.

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