IT40 News for 07/11/2018 Top 40 News

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#1 Angela Merkel hits back at Donald Trump at NATO summit

Video by Reuters

Angela Merkel pushed back against Donald Trump’s extraordinary tirade against Germany on the first day of the NATO summit in Brussels on Wednesday, denying her country was “totally controlled” by Russia and saying it made its own independent decisions and policies.

In less blunt language than the US president’s, the German chancellor made the point that she needed no lessons in dealing with authoritarian regimes, recalling she had been brought up in East Germany when it had been part of the Soviet Union’s sphere of influence.

Arriving at NATO headquarters only hours after Trump singled out Germany for criticism, Merkel said: “I have experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union. I am very happy that today we are united in freedom, the Federal Republic of Germany. Because of that we can say that we can make our independent policies and make independent decisions. That is very good, especially for people in eastern Germany.”

She also hit back at Trump’s criticism that Germany contributed too little to European defense. “Germany does a lot for NATO,” she said.

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#2 Trump, NATO head Stoltenberg have testy exchange at summit

President calls out energy agreements between Russia and European countries during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday had a testy exchange with the head of NATO when he asked about energy agreements between Russia and several European countries.

Trump repeatedly pressed Jens Stoltenberg, NATO's secretary general, on why the U.S. continued to pay money to the military alliance while countries continue to purchase energy from Moscow.

“We are stronger together,” Stoltenberg insisted, but acknowledged that there can be differences among allies.

Still, Trump persisted.

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#3 U.S. Unveils Additional Tariffs on $200 Billion More in Chinese Imports

WASHINGTON—The White House said it would assess 10% tariffs on a further $200 billion in Chinese goods, deepening the dispute with Beijing, while sending a message to other trading partners that the U.S. won’t back away from trade fights.

The new round of tariffs—hitting products from fish to luggage—comes on top of two others and is bound to be met with threats of retaliation from Beijing, though U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said he was open to talks with China about a resolution of the dispute.

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#4 Baby killed, dozens hurt when tornado hits North Dakota city

WATFORD CITY, N.D. (AP) — A newborn baby was killed and more than two dozen people were injured when a tornado whipped through a North Dakota oil patch city overnight, overturning recreational vehicles and demolishing more than 100 structures, officials said Tuesday.

The storm moved through Watford City, in the northwestern part of the state, shortly after midnight, hitting an RV park the hardest, according to sheriff's officials. About 20 of the reported 28 injured were staying at the Prairie View RV Park where high winds overturned some campers and damaged mobile homes.

The McKenzie County Sheriff's Office said in a news release late Tuesday that a 1-week-old boy died from injuries sustained when the family's trailer home flipped in the storm. The child's name was not immediately released.

National Weather Service meteorologist John Paul Martin classified the tornado as an EF2, which is defined by winds speeds between 111 and 135 mph. He said wind speeds reached 127 mph in Watford City.

Clifford Bowden, 37, was in his recreational vehicle when the storm struck.

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#5 Countries Where the Population is Growing Fastest and Where It’s Shrinking

The world population is currently at 7.6 billion. The growth or decline of a nation's population is due to multiple factors. Fertility rates, life expectancy, standard of living, socio-economic developments, marriage ages, and the availability and affordability of medicine and health care all play a part. Here, we take a look at the 15 countries with the fastest-growing populations and the 15 countries where populations were shrinking the fastest between 2017 and 2018 and the likely causes behind their growth or decline, according to data from World Population Review and other sources.The fastest-growing countries are listed first, followed by the fastest-shrinking nations.

Estimated Population in 2018: 19.1 millionIncrease from prior year: 2.91 percentBirths Per Day: 1,884Deaths Per Day: 367Fertility Rate: 4.4 children/womanLife Expectancy: 63 yearsCauses: Despite education on contraceptive use, large family sizes continue to be the norm in Malawi. The poorest 20 percent of the population tends to be young, with uneducated women having an average of three times more children than women with higher education levels. While strides have been made in reducing the number of HIV infections, it remains the No. 1 killer, with acute respiratory infections coming in second place. The government provides free antiretroviral drugs, which prolong many patients' lives. Because the average woman gives birth several times during her life, obstetrics is an important part of their health-care system. In 2007, a law was passed requiring women to give birth at local health-care facilities with skilled professionals. This greatly reduced the number of complications and deaths for both mothers and children.

Estimated Population in 2018: 15.1 millionIncrease from prior year: 2.98 percentBirths Per Day: 1,764Deaths Per Day: 451Fertility Rate: 6.1 children/womanLife Expectancy: 56 yearsCauses: From 1960 to 2016, the population of Somalia increased from 2.76 million to 14.32 million people. This is a growth of some 419 percent in 56 years. Somalia recorded its biggest annual increase in 1977 with 12.54 percent. The smallest increase was in 1984 with 0.11 percent. The country faces a high level of sexual and gender-based violence coupled with low contraceptive-usage rate, which accounts for a portion of the population increase.

Estimated Population in 2018: 2.1 millionIncrease from prior year: 3.01 percentBirths Per Day: 226Deaths Per Day: 46Fertility Rate: 5.3 children/womanLife Expectancy: 61 yearsCauses: Use of improved drinking water has been a contributing factor in the health of this country coupled with a 98 percent infant immunization rate. The birth rate is high with about 39 births per 1,000 people.

Estimated Population in 2018: 17.6 millionIncrease from prior year: 3.01 percentBirths Per Day: 1,796Deaths Per Day: 361Fertility Rate: 4.9 children/womanLife Expectancy: 62 yearsCauses: Zambia has one of the highest fertility rates in the world, plus HIV prevalence has declined. The mortality rate for children under 5 has been reduced by 66 percent, and the maternal mortality rate has been reduced 61 percent between 1990 and 2015.

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#6 The US now plans tariffs on more than 6000 Chinese products worth $200 billion — here’s what’s included

The Trump administration has fired the latest shot in the ongoing trade war with China, highlighting $200 billion worth of items that are eligible for a 10% tariff on products imported from China.

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Perhaps not surprisingly, the list is massive, spanning 195 pages.

A number of product categories overlap with ones that were targeted in the first round of US tariffs on $34 billion worth of goods which went into effect last week.

But the new list is impressive in both detail and scope, categorised by an extensive list of sub-indexes which align with World Trade Organisation protocols.

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#7 China Vows Fightback Against Trump’s Proposed $200 Billion Tariff Threat

China vowed to fightback against the Trump administration’s plans to impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion in Chinese goods, escalating a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies. 

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Beijing described the latest U.S. move as "totally unacceptable" bullying, and urged other countries to join China to protect free trade and multilateralism. China promised to lodge complaints at the World Trade Organization but didn’t detail what its retaliatory measures would be. 

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#8 Jeff Bezos is now $50 billion richer than anyone else on Earth

Jeff Bezos’s wealth has reached an incredible new milestone.

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As of Tuesday, according to a Forbes estimate, the Amazon founder and CEO has a net worth of $143.1 billion—making him at least $50 billion richer than any other person on Earth.

Bezos became the world’s richest man last summer, when his net worth (then around $90 billion) surpassed that of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Gates, who has given much of his fortune to philanthropic efforts, now has a net worth of about $93.3 billion, Forbes reports.

Like many of the world’s richest people, Jeff Bezos’s net worth is tied directly to his company’s performance in the stock market. Bezos owns roughly 16% of Amazon, and Amazon stock has been soaring. The price of a single share of Amazon is now selling for over $1,700, up from $1,000 as recently as last October.

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#10 Days after Scott Pruitt resigned, several top aides are also calling it quits at EPA

Several top aides to former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt are leaving the agency, less than a week after Pruitt resigned his post amid a slew of inquiries into his spending and management practices.

The departures include Jahan Wilcox, who as Pruitt’s combative spokesman fiercely defended the embattled Cabinet member and found himself facing criticism for his sometimes antagonistic approach to reporters covering the EPA; Lincoln Ferguson, a longtime aide and confidant who worked for Pruitt in Oklahoma and was nearly always by his side during his travels; Hayley Ford, deputy White House liaison; and Kelsi Daniell, an EPA spokeswoman.

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With the exception of Daniell, who had served notice before Pruitt resigned on Thursday, all of the appointees were close allies of the former administrator. Several of the aides had been seeking other work, according to several current EPA officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss personnel matters, given the upheaval the agency had been undergoing during Pruitt’s tenure.

“I thank all those who are moving on to new endeavors for their service to EPA,” the agency’s chief of staff, Ryan Jackson, said in a statement Tuesday.

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#11 Explosion rocks Wisconsin town after natural gas main struck

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (AP) — An explosion rocked a Wisconsin community after a contractor struck a natural gas main in a downtown area filled with bars and other businesses, injuring two firefighters and a police officer, authorities said.

Firefighters and police officers responded to a reported gas leak, and an evacuation was underway when the blast happened Tuesday, said Sun Prairie police Lt. Kevin Konopacki. He added that lives were likely saved as a result of the evacuation.

No deaths were reported, but Konopacki said buildings would be searched in the Madison, Wisconsin, suburb of about 30,000 once the flames were out. Firefighters were still battling flames more than three hours after the explosion.

The powerful blast around 7:15 p.m. sent a plume of smoke and flames into the air.

Konopacki said the firefighters were taken to a hospital, while the officer was treated at the scene. He said some civilians suffered minor injuries, but none required hospitalization. He didn't know the exact number of civilians hurt.

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#12 Trump UK visit: Embassy warns Americans to keep a ‘low profile’

The US embassy has taken the unusual step of issuing a warning to American citizens in the UK to "keep a low profile" during the visit of President Donald Trump.

There are fears that demonstrations over Trump's three-day visit to the UK, where he will meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May and Queen Elizabeth, could turn violent.

The largest demonstration is expected in central London on Friday where a giant "Trump baby" balloon will fly close to Parliament after being given the go-ahead by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

In a statement on the US embassy website, warns US citizens to "be aware of your surroundings [and] exercise caution if unexpectedly in the vicinity of large gatherings that may become violent."

As well as in London, protests are expected to take place in Bristol, Newcastle, Leeds, Cambridge and Cardiff after Trump arrives on Thursday.

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#13 Abe visiting flood-hit western Japan as deaths reach 176

HIROSHIMA, Japan— Japan's government said 176 people have been confirmed dead after last week's heavy rains in western Japan, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited a hard-hit city.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Abe on Wednesday would visit an evacuation center in Kurashiki, a city where a river broke through an embankment and swept through residential areas, killing more than 40 people.

Tens of thousands of rescue and recovery workers and volunteers dug through the debris, as the search for dozens still missing enters its fifth day.

Record-setting rainfall caused severe flooding and landslides, toppling and burying homes across a wide swath. Most of the deaths were in Hiroshima and the surrounding area.

Resident Tatsumi Kanamori helped clear dirt from roads in a neighborhood in Hiroshima's Asakita ward, where debris has cut off vehicle access. "I'm cleaning out the edges here on the road, because the heavy machinery can't pick up dirt from the curb because it'll get stuck," he said.

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#14 Questions about Kennedy connections abound after President Trump picks Brett Kavanaugh to fill Supreme Court vacancy

It wasn't a split decision.

President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the nation's highest court may have been months in the making — and an effort to appease retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, according to sources and reports.

Kavanaugh met with Republican lawmakers Tuesday as he prepares for a contentious confirmation battle.

But the conservative jurist's path to replacing the man he once clerked for began well before the President's made-for TV decision.

While Trump did his best over the past two weeks to keep his choice under wraps, there are indications from those close to the President and several reports that the pick was made months ago.

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#15 Giuliani works for foreign clients while serving as Trump’s attorney

Rudolph W. Giuliani continues to work on behalf of foreign clients both personally and through his namesake security firm while serving as President Trump’s personal attorney — an arrangement experts say raises conflict-of-interest concerns and could run afoul of federal ethics laws.

Giuliani said in recent interviews with The Washington Post that he is working with clients in Brazil and Colombia, among other countries, as well as delivering paid speeches for a controversial Iranian dissident group. He has never registered with the Justice Department on behalf of his overseas clients, asserting it is not necessary because he does not directly lobby the U.S. government and is not charging Trump for his services.

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His decision to continue representing foreign entities also departs from standard practice for presidential attorneys, who in the past have generally sought to sever any ties that could create conflicts with their client in the White House.

“I’ve never lobbied him on anything,” Giuliani said, referring to Trump. “I don’t represent foreign government in front of the U.S. government. I’ve never registered to lobby.”

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#16 What did deputies do during Parkland shooting? Officials fight to keep footage secret

© Mike Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS
Students are evacuated by police out of Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., after a shooting on February 14, 2018.

MIAMI - The public should not see security camera footage that may shed light on what law enforcement officers did during the deadly Parkland school shooting, attorneys for the Broward County School Board and Broward State Attorney's Office argued in state court Tuesday.

Releasing the footage could jeopardize the "integrity" of the video surveillance system at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, putting students at risk, a school board attorney told a three-judge panel at the Fourth District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach. A lawyer representing the Broward state attorney said the footage constituted "criminal investigative information" that should not be disclosed under Florida's broad public records law.

Some Broward Sheriff's Office deputies are said to have taken cover during the Feb. 14 attack by former student Nikolas Cruz that killed 17 people. The exterior camera footage - sought by nearly a dozen media outlets, including The Miami Herald - may show what actions deputies took during and shortly after a six-minute shooting spree that left students and staff bleeding to death from grievous wounds.

"The footage is the only objective evidence of what occurred and when," said Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation, which joined the media in suing for the footage. "The whole purpose of our open government laws is oversight and accountability. Access to the video footage allows us to hold those accountable who may not have done their jobs."

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#17 Zsa Zsa dies weeks after being dubbed ‘World’s Ugliest Dog’

Zsa Zsa, whose bodacious tongue recently won her the 30th annual World's Ugliest Dog Contest, died in her sleep, the English bulldog's owner said Tuesday.

Megan Brainard of Anoka, Minnesota, delivered the sad news about the 9-year-old dog. "I'm in shock still," she told CNN sister network HLN. "I haven't even processed her winning and fame."

A news release announcing Zsa Zsa's victory in late June in Petaluma, California, said: "Nine years young with a swaggering tongue, Zsa Zsa delivered a shower of slobber as she claimed this year's title."

At the time, Brainard said in an email to CNN that Zsa Zsa -- who has two fur brothers, a pug and a Frenchie -- owed her impressive tongue to her almost horizontal upper teeth and heavily pronounced underbite, which made it difficult to keep the pink, fleshy mass in her mouth.

Zsa Zsa' winnings included $1,500, "a very large trophy" and a flight to New York, where she and Brainard appeared on the "Today" show.

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#18 Border officials may have taken child of US citizen into custody

© Provided by The Hill

U.S. officials at the southern border may have taken a child of a U.S. citizen into custody, administration lawyers revealed Tuesday.

In a court filing to give an update on efforts to reunite families, lawyers for the Department of Justice (DOJ) said the administration is unable to determine if the child was separated from the parent, and the government hasn't been able to locate the parent for more than a year.

The child is under the age of 5, according to the filing. Officials did not give any other details about the child or the parent's potential whereabouts.

One child "cannot be reunified at this time because the parent's location has been unknown for more than a year," the filing said. "Defendants are unable to conclusively determine whether the parent is a class member, and records show the parent and child might be U.S. citizens."

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#19 NHC says Chris strengthens into a Category 2 hurricane

Video by NBC News

Chris, the second hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season strengthened into a Category 2 storm on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale and additional strengthening is likely through Wednesday morning, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Hurricane Chris was located about 245 miles (390 km) east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, packing maximum sustained winds of 105 miles per hour (165 km per hour), the NHC said in its latest advisory at 11 p.m. EDT (0300 GMT).

Chris is forecast to begin weakening Wednesday night, and the system is expected to become a strong post-tropical cyclone by Thursday night, the Florida-based weather forecaster said.

(Reporting by Karen Rodrigues in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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#20 Man dies jumping from waterfall in Northern California

The Shasta County Sheriff's office says a man fell to his death jumping off Burney Falls Friday.

The unidentified 30-year-old didn't surface in the pool below the falls after his jump and a dive team recovered his body at the location in McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park near Shasta.

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#21 Allies wonder if West can withstand Trump presidency

President Donald Trump begins a six-day European trip amid blazing anxiety among US allies over his commitment to the transatlantic alliance and antipathy for its leaders and institutions while stirring new disquiet about his cozy, baffling relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Such concerns will color a tense NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, beginning Wednesday; Trump's long-delayed visit to Britain, where turmoil over Brexit is raging; and his first standalone summit with Putin in Finland on Monday.

For the last 17 months, Trump has torn at the West's cohesion and questioned its values in a startling manner since, typically, the US has always seen European institutions as multiples of its own power and enhancing its own security.

He's portrayed US allies as freeloaders exploiting American generosity rather than partners in a US effort to rebuild shattered Europe after World War II and an alliance that beat communism in the Cold War in a triumph for liberal democratic capitalism.

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#22 North Korea implies Kim Jong Un was at farm during Pompeo’s visit

The mystery was perhaps resolved Tuesday when the official news agency KCNA put out no fewer than four reports on Kim's trip to far-flung Samjiyon county, on the border with China, most of them far more detailed than its usual accounts of his "field guidance" visits.

At the Junghung potato farm, it said, he instructed staff not only to plant high-yield varieties but also to "introduce various species good to taste and ensure the quality of processed potato foods in production and thus raise the quality of potato production."

He praised officials of the county, which is close to Mount Paektu, the spiritual home of the Korean people and claimed by Pyongyang's propaganda to be the actual birthplace of his father and predecessor, Kim Jong Il.

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#23 Russian pop star Emin Agalarov denies offering Trump prostitutes, influencing election

© Valery Sharifulin/TASS
Singer Emin Agalarov performs in a concert in Red Square celebrating the Day of Russia.

Emin Agalarov, a Russian real estate developer and pop singer who helped set up Donald Trump Jr.'s infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting, spoke for the first time about allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians trying to influence the election.

In an interview with Vice News that airs Tuesday (7:30 p.m. EDT on HBO), Agalarov dismissed the idea that he took part in meddling in the American presidential election as "ridiculous" and denied sending prostitutes to Donald Trump's hotel room during a 2013 trip to Moscow.

"I have been accused of influencing — this is gonna sound very strange — influencing the American election. Me, this guy here from Azerbaijan, living in Moscow. Because I know personally Mr. Donald Trump," Agalarov told Vice. "It’s quite a strange and ridiculous accusation."

Agalarov admitted to Vice that he helped set up the June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan between Trump Jr. and Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer with Kremlin ties. President Donald Trump's son in law Jared Kushner and then Trump-campaign manager Paul Manafort also attended the meeting. 

Agalarov denied knowing Veselnitskaya. He said his father was acquainted with her and that he helped set up the Trump Tower meeting at his father's request.

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#24 German neo-Nazi murderer sentenced to life in prison

MUNICH, July 11 (Reuters) - A German woman was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday for her part in the murders of 10 people during a seven-year campaign of violence by a neo-Nazi gang.

The Higher Regional Court in Munich ruled that Beate Zschaepe was part of the National Socialist Underground (NSU), whose members killed eight Turks, a Greek and a German policewoman.

Zschaepe had denied taking part in the murders with two men, Uwe Boehnhardt and Uwe Mundlos. They killed themselves in 2011 when police discovered the gang by chance. During the trial she said through her lawyer that she felt morally guilty for not stopping them.

The NSU attacks were the most violent of their kind in Germany since the end of the far-left Red Army Faction's two-decade killing spree in 1991, which left at least 34 dead.

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#25 Pakistani Taliban claims responsibility for deadly election suicide attack

The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for Tuesday's suicide attack which left at least 20 people dead in Peshawar, a city near the Afghan border.

Another 63 people were injured in the attack, according to Zulfikar Ali, the spokesman for Peshawar's Lady Reading Hospital. It is one of the deadliest militant attacks in Pakistan this year and the first major attack as the country prepares for a general election on July 25.

In a statement, Pakistani Taliban spokesman Mohammad Khurasani said that the "successful bombing (in Peshawar) is the beginning of revenge," and that "details of the suicide bombing will be shared soon."

The dead include Awami National Party (ANP) candidate Haroom Bilour, who was due to contest this month's election.

Bilour's father, former provincial minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour, was also killed in a suicide attack carried out by the Pakistani Taliban in 2012.

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#26 American tourist killed by stray bullet in Mexico City while celebrating first wedding anniversary

Less than a week before her death, Tatiana Mirutenko posted a trio of photos from her wedding to Instagram: “Year 1,” she wrote, adding a heart under the images of her and her husband.

Soon afterward, the couple would travel from their home in California to Mexico City for what was supposed to be a celebration of their first wedding anniversary, Mirutenko’s family told ABC 7 News.

Instead, the trip ended in tragedy after Mirutenko was killed early Saturday morning in an apparent drive-by shooting in Lomas de Chapultepec, a wealthy neighborhood in the Mexican capital better known for its mix of colonial and modern-style mansions than for violence.

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The U.S. State Department confirmed Mirutenko's death in Mexico City and her nationality but did not provide any details of the incident.

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#27 South Sudan troops, allies killed hundreds in recent attacks: UN

The United Nations has accused South Sudan's government forces and aligned troops of killing dozens of civilians, including children and the elderly, in deliberate and ruthless attacks this year that may amount to war crimes.

The UN human rights office (OHCHR) and the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) jointly published a report on Tuesday, documenting at least 232 civilian deaths and many more injuries between April 16 and May 24 in attacks by government-backed troops as well as armed youth on 40 villages in the opposition-held areas of Mayendit and Leer. 

"The perpetrators of these revolting acts against defenceless civilians, including those bearing command responsibility, must not be allowed to get away with it," Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said in a statement, calling on the government to halt all hostilities against civilians. 

In its report, the UN human rights office identified three individuals who "may bear the greatest responsibility" for the recent violations. 

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#28 European Union president to Trump: ‘Appreciate your allies, after all you don’t have that many’

European Union President Donald Tusk on Tuesday delivered a strongly worded statement directed at President Donald Trump amid his ongoing criticism of NATO: "Appreciate your allies. After all, you don't have that many."

As Trump was set to travel to Brussels for a NATO summit, Tusk said, "I would like to address President Trump directly, who for a long time now has been criticizing Europe almost daily for, in his view, insufficient contributions to the common defence capabilities, and for living off the US." 

"Dear President Trump: America does not have, and will not have a better ally than Europe," Tusk added. "Money is important, but genuine solidarity is even more important."

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#29 Taliban Opponent in Pakistan Killed by Bomb as He Campaigns

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A candidate from a political party opposed to the Taliban was killed in a suicide bombing late Tuesday as he campaigned in northwestern Pakistan, just weeks before the country goes to the polls.

At least 12 people were killed and dozens were wounded, several of them critically, police and hospital officials said. The death toll was expected to rise, officials said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but immediate suspicion fell on the Pakistani Taliban, which has frequently attacked secularist politicians.

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#30 Trump Still Distorting NATO Spending

President Donald Trump continues to wrongly claim that the United States is paying as much as 90 percent of the cost of operating the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

In reality, the U.S. share of the commonly funded NATO budget is currently just over 22 percent, according to the most recent figures from NATO.

Trump’s complaints about NATO spending are actually based on how much the U.S. spends on its own defense compared with what other member nations spend on theirs.

Still, the U.S. share of total defense spending by all alliance members in 2017 was an estimated 67 percent, according to inflation-adjusted figures from NATO.

Trump’s most recent criticism of NATO came in a series of morning tweets on July 9, just days before he attends a two-day summit in Brussels with other NATO leaders.

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#31 Bosnian Muslims to bury 35 Srebrenica massacre victims

SREBRENICA, Bosnia-Herzegovina –  Thousands of Bosnian Muslims gathered in Srebrenica on Wednesday to mark the 23rd anniversary of Europe's worst massacre since World War II and attend the funeral for 35 recently identified victims.

The remains of the men and boys slaughtered at the enclave in July 1995 were laid to rest in the town whose name has become synonymous with the brutality of the 1992-95 Bosnian war. The coffins covered in green cloth were lined up at a memorial center and new burial pits were dug at the massive graveyard that already holds 6,575 victims found previously.

Srebrenica was a U.N.-protected, Muslim-populated town in eastern Bosnia besieged by Serb forces throughout the war. Serb troops led by Gen. Ratko Mladic overran the enclave, separated men from women and small children and executed about 8,000 men and boys within a few days. Some 30,000 people were violently displaced.

Dutch U.N. peacekeepers were undermanned and outgunned and failed to intervene.

"Srebrenica has become a global symbol for genocide, a warning that no more genocides should happen anywhere in the world," said Nermin Alivukovic, the president of the commemoration's organizing committee.

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#32 Facebook handed maximum data breach fine for role in Cambridge Analytica scandal

Facebook has been slapped with a £500,000 fine for the role it played in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the data of 87m users was harvested for political purposes.

The data regulator found that the social network failed to safeguard users’ information and allowed people’s personal data to be harvested by others, constituting a breach of the Data Protection Act 1998. Had the breach occurred after May this year, Facebook may have faced a far greater fine under the new data protection law, a maximum of 4pc of global turnover or €20m (£18m), whichever was highest.

The penalty could be just the first in what might become several fines for Mark Zuckerberg as the Information Commissioner’s Office continues to investigate other aspects of Facebook’s data sharing such as an advertising service that combined third party data with the likes of credit check giant Experian, among others. Facebook said it has suspended the service in the EU as a result. 

The ICO's probe went beyond how Facebook allowed Dr Aleksandr Kogan, the data scientist who created an app to harvest the personal information of 87m Facebook users and Cambridge Analytica, the now-defunct political campaigning company that the Facebook data was passed on to.

It also determined links between Dr Kogan and Canadian-headquartered data analytics company, Aggregate IQ, which still holds UK citizen data, allegedly passed on by the Leave EU campaign group. Leave EU has denied allegations of wrongdoing. 

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#33 How Apple’s app store changed our world

SAN FRANCISCO — A decade ago, Apple opened a store peddling iPhone apps, unlocking the creativity of software developers and letting users truly make their mobile devices their own.

The resulting explosion of phone apps — there are now more than 2 million for the iPhone alone — has changed daily life for billions of people around the world.

It has unleashed new ways for us to work and play — and to become so distracted that we sometimes forget to look up from our screens. It has created new industries — think ride-hailing services like Uber, which would be unimaginable without mobile apps — and pumped up demand for software developers and coding schools.

But it has also opened the door to an age of technology anxiety, rife with concerns that apps are serving us a little too well and holding our attention whether we want them to or not.


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#34 Instagram adds the questions sticker, a new way to poll your friends

© Provided by The Verge

In October, Instagram added a polling feature to its ephemeral stories. Today, the company is introducing a new twist on polling with the questions sticker, which lets your friends submit questions for you to answer in a subsequent story post.

Instagram says it’s “a way to start conversations during moments when you don’t necessarily have a photo or video to share.” In other words, it’s a way to ensure that people continue posting even if they have totally run out of content ideas.

The new feature can be found in the sticker drawer. Tap it, type out a prompt, and place it on your post. When friends see it, they can tap the sticker to send replies. Somewhat confusingly, replies will appear in the list of people who have viewed your story, which appears in the bottom-left corner of the post. (Wasn’t Instagram Direct built for this exact sort of thing?)

© Provided by The Verge

From there, you can tap the question to create a new story post. The question will be inserted into the story, and you can answer however you like. You’ll know who asked the question, but their username or photo won’t appear in the post.

The questions sticker is rolling out on Android and iOS.

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#35 How many humans can Earth support?

Humans are the most populous large mammal on Earth today, and probably in all of geological history. This World Population Day, humans number in the vicinity of 7.5 to 7.6 billion individuals.

Can the Earth support this many people indefinitely? What will happen if we do nothing to manage future population growth and total resource use? These complex questions are ecological, political, ethical – and urgent. Simple mathematics shows why, shedding light on our species' ecological footprint.

In an environment with unlimited natural resources, population size grows exponentially. One characteristic feature of exponential growth is the time a population takes to double in size.

Exponential growth tends to start slowly, sneaking up before ballooning in just a few doublings.

To illustrate, suppose Jeff Bezos agreed to give you one penny on Jan. 1, 2019, two pennies on Feb. 1, four on March 1, and so forth, with the payment doubling each month. How long would his $100 billion fortune uphold the contract? Take a moment to ponder and guess.

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#36 Russian Cargo Ship Reaches Space Station in Record Time

A Russian-built spacecraft has reached the International Space Station in less than four hours, making it the fastest supply mission to space in history.

At 5:51pm ET on July 9, a Progress 70 supply freighter blasted off aboard a Soyuz-2 rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. A mere three hours and 40 minutes later, the Russian-built cargo craft, filled with nearly three tons of food, fuel, and other supplies, rendezvoused with the ISS. That’s one speedy delivery, and a new record, reports Space.

The fast-track to the ISS required the Progress 70 vehicle to perform just two orbits of Earth prior to docking. “The two-orbit rendezvous was made possible by timing the Soyuz rocket’s launch to an instant just before the space station sailed over the Baikonur Cosmodrome,” explained Stephen Clark at Spaceflight Now.

Russian spacecraft are currently the most efficient at making quick cargo deliveries. For the past six years, the Soyuz rocket has delivered both supplies and astronauts to the ISS in less than six hours, requiring six Earth orbits. U.S. cargo vehicles, such as those manufactured by SpaceX and Northrop Grumman, usually require several days to the reach the ISS after launch.

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#37 Scientists have discovered the world’s oldest color. It’s bright pink

The color of bubble gum, flamingos and cotton candy -- bright pink -- is the world's oldest color, according to a recent study.

Researchers discovered the ancient pink pigments in 1.1-billion-year-old rocks deep beneath the Sahara Desert in the Taoudeni Basin of Mauritania, West Africa, making them the oldest colors in the geological record.

According to Dr. Nur Gueneli, who discovered the pigments as part of her PhD studies at Australia National University, the bright pink colors are more than 500 million years older than the next oldest known pigments and were produced by ancient ocean organisms.

"The bright pink pigments are the molecular fossils of chlorophyll that were produced by ancient photosynthetic organisms inhabiting an ancient ocean that has long since vanished," Dr. Gueneli said in a news release.

To discover the pigments, researchers crushed billion-year-old rocks into powder, and extracted and analyzed the molecules of ancient organisms within them.

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#38 Astronaut Chris Hadfield says we could have gone to Mars decades ago — here’s why we haven’t

Chris Hadfield is best-known for recording David Bowie's song "Space Oddity" . But his real accomplishment is an incredible amount of space travel.

Between 1995 and 2013, Hadfield flew inside two NASA space shuttles and a Russian spacecraft, lived aboard the International Space Station, and spent a total of 166 days in orbit.

Hadfield has since retired as astronaut, but he recently shared some of his spaceflight knowledge as part of a new on the online education platform MasterClass.

We followed up on Hadfield's lessons by asking if he's hopeful that NASA, SpaceX, Blue Origin, or other players in the might send people to Mars (and ) within the next decade or so.

"We could send people to Mars decades ago," Hadfield told Business Insider. "The technology that took us to the moon and back when I was just a kid — that technology can take us to Mars."

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#39 A scientist’s response to Antarctic ice loss: ‘We can act.’

To someone living in the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere, ice loss in Antarctica may seem like a distant area of concern.

Not true, says Andrew Shepherd.

Shepherd, a professor of Earth observation at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, recently led a group of 80 researchers stationed across the planet to collect data, observations and insights into the ice loss of the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

The team’s findings, which were recently published in the journal Nature, show that as much as 200 billion tons of ice are being lost from Antarctica each year — a much larger number than originally thought by the scientific community. In fact, the rate of melting has tripled over the past decade, according to the new findings.

“This particular story affects those of us that live in the Northern Hemisphere a little bit more,” says Shepherd.

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#40 Video Games Invade Reality as ‘Fortnite’ Creates a Narratively-Driven Shared Moment

Llama piñatas are appearing across Europe. The Durr Burger showed up in a California desert. Epic’s “Fortnite” is bleeding into the real world, and the mystery of their dimensional warp has players scrambling both online and in that dusty thing we call the real world to figure just what’s happening next.

Car-sized burger restaurant mascots and piñatas aside, it was on June 30 that “Fortnite” actually broke a barrier. The megapopular battle royale game did a remarkable thing. Without changing the rules of its world, they got players to stand still and stare up into the sky together, and watch an event that would happen just once. The game stopped, a story began, and “Fortnite” is likely to be caught in the momentum of this narrative breakthrough for more than the foreseeable future.

In their short history, video games have most often accomplished the deliverance of awe unto their players by means of technological innovation. Their worlds became crisper, their characters more lifelike or more expressive, and thusly, player actions became more tangible, and so on.

Increasingly, though, exemplified perhaps by the success of Nintendo’s underpowered Switch console, such an awe has been harder to fabricate, instead leaving a sort of gap in the industry.  This gap is further exacerbated by, or a repercussion of, the gaming industry’s dependence on a narrative style sloppily excavated from film and television and spattered onto gameplay with the elegance of a freight train on a speedway. And in the many attempts to smooth the edges between the player and the story, as in “The Breath of the Wild’s” quieter open world, or “Dark Souls’” and “Inside’s” ephemeral smattering of theming through world detail, the solution thus far has appeared a deliberate silencing of the script in favor of emergent and accidental discovery. Those methods are intriguing, and their games better as a result, but there remains a yearning for narrative punch. For awe. And only recently did I find it once again, in perhaps the least serious game demanding all of our attention.

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