Quote of the day.
"The impact of counter-terrorism measures on humanitarian action has been the source of growing concern within the humanitarian community. A particular fear has been that people in areas controlled by non-state armed groups designated as terrorists may have no or diminished access to humanitarian assistance and protection." Kyung-wha Kang, U.N. assistant secretary general for humanitarian affairs, on a new report showing counter-terrorism legislation is having a direct impact on humanitarian action.
1. Obama says, ‘Washington has taken its eye off the ball.’
President Obama on Wednesday said the fragile economic recovery is being undermined by worsening partisan politics in Washington and urged the country to stand behind him as Republicans try to roll back his vision of government.
2. NSA vote splits parties, jars leaders.
A $512.5 billion Pentagon appropriations bill cleared the House Wednesday evening after the leadership narrowly beat back efforts to curb the National Security Agency’s authority to collect private call records and metadata on telephone customers in the U.S.
3. With little argument, House limits U.S. military involvement in Syria, Egypt.
The House of Representatives approved measures Wednesday that would prevent the Obama administration from spending money on U.S. military operations in Syria without consulting Congress and would forbid funding U.S. military or paramilitary operations in Egypt.
4. Louisiana agency sues dozens of energy companies for damage to wetlands.
Louisiana officials filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against dozens of energy companies, hoping that the courts will force them to pay for decades of damage to fragile coastal wetlands that help buffer the effects of hurricanes on the region.
(New York Times)
5. The cost of child poverty: $500 billion a year.
The United States has the second-highest child poverty rate among the world’s richest 35 nations, and the cost in economic and educational outcomes is half a trillion dollars a year, according to a new report by the Educational Testing Service.
6. Slum trip, mass youth meeting await Pope in Rio.
Pope Francis will bless the Olympic flag, visit a slum, and address upward of 1 million young Roman Catholics in Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach on Thursday, as Latin America's first pope continued his inaugural international trip as pontiff.
7. Leaving zero troops in Afghanistan? It's a serious option, Pentagon says.
Following through on the so-called “zero option” for Afghanistan — in which no U.S. troops would remain in the country past 2014 — would be a dangerous way forward for the Pentagon, warn some lawmakers who say they are increasingly concerned about the prospect.
(Christian Science Monitor)
8. Egypt rallies defy army chief's call.
Thousands of pro-Morsi supporters filled Nasr City on Thursday, repeating their weeks-long demand that the deposed president — who was removed by the army on July 3 — is reinstated.
9. Israeli-Palestinian talks to begin next week.
The first talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators for almost three years are scheduled to begin in Washington next Tuesday, according to an Israeli minister.
10. South Sudan: food fears for thousands in Jonglei as violence intensifies.
Tens of thousands of people face severe food insecurity as they hide in the bush in Jonglei state, South Sudan, after another wave of violence cut off access to aid.