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South Africa's rand weakens for fifth straight day vs dollar

A worker shows his payment outside the Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban South Africa's rand weakened against the dollar on Friday for a fifth consecutive day, falling by close to a third of a percent, as the currency struggled to shake off fundamental economic weakness. Data released in the previous session showed South Africa's trade deficit for June had narrowed from 7.4 billion rand ($690 million) to 19 million rand with exports edging up slightly, but the rand failed to gain a foothold against a strengthening dollar. "July's trade report will not encourage much optimism either due to impact of National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) strike." The strike lasted four weeks and hit the operations of major automobile makers as well as construction of two badly-needed power plants.


Town changed, even with girls' killer behind bars

FILE - In this April 23, 2012, file photo, Kevin Sweat leaves court in Okemah, Okla. Sweat, accused of killing two girls along a rural Oklahoma road in 2008 but who was not arrested until after being questioned in his fiancee's death three years later, has pleaded guilty in both cases Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File) WELEETKA, Okla. (AP) — Folks once settled in this sleepy central Oklahoma town to get away from the crime and hubbub of big-city life. Mom-and-pop shops bustled with plenty of customers, and many residents didn't bolt their doors or draw their shades at night. Most here never worried about people like Kevin Sweat.


Yosemite wildfire weakened, evacuations to end

This Monday, July 28, 2014 photo released Thursday, July 31, 2014 by the U.S. Forest Service, shows flames and smoke in the Sierra National Forest, Calif. On Thursday, Fire crews are battling a blaze in Sierra National Forest about 60 miles northeast of Fresno, Calif. that was creeping closer to the Mammoth Pool Reservoir, a popular recreation spot that supplies drinking water. (AP Photo/U.S. National Forest Service, Burt Stalter) YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — A day of big firefighting gains against a wildfire in Yosemite National Park means the last evacuations will soon end and threats to a rare grove of giant sequoias will shrink further.


Quotations in the News

"This is not a time for congratulations and joy, or anything except a serious determination, a focus, by everybody to try to figure out the road ahead. This is a respite. It's a moment of opportunity, not an end; it's not a solution. It's the opportunity to find the solution." — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire between Israel and Gaza which will begin Friday morning.

ArcelorMittal South Africa narrows first-half loss

A logo of ArcelorMittal steel group is seen at the Les Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyards in Saint Nazaire ArcelorMittal South Africa said on Friday its first-half loss narrowed compared to last year but earnings are expected to remain under strain because of weak domestic economic growth and labour disputes. Africa's biggest producer of steel reported a headline loss of 2 cents a share for the six months to end-June compared with a loss of 31 cents the same period last year. Headline earnings, the main profit gauge in South Africa, exclude certain one-off and non trading items. South Africa's main manufacturing union ended a four-week strike in the metals and engineering sector on Monday after accepting a wage increase offer from employers.


Tropical Storm Bertha forms in the Atlantic

This NOAA satellite image taken Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 10:45 AM EDT shows widely scattered clouds across the Caribbean Basin. A cluster of clouds is present north of Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. A tropical wave is struggling to organize well east of the Lesser Antilles as it tracks westward. (AP Photo/Weather Underground) MIAMI (AP) — Tropical Storm Bertha has formed, becoming the second named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.


Couple channel grief into retreat for veterans

In this July 16, 2014 photo, Jan and Terry Blumberg, left, talk with Richard and Mary Dunkley during lunch at Blum’s Landing in Ocqueoc Township, Mich. The Blumbergs used benefits and insurance money from their son Trevor's 2003 death in Iraq to help build Blum’s Landing. Now in its third year, the two-story home serves as a retreat for those fighting the war on terror. Veterans can stay at Blum’s Landing free of charge for up to five days. Richard Dunkley earned his family’s stay by serving in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Mike Householder) OCQUEOC TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Before shipping out for Iraq, Army Sgt. Trevor Blumberg asked his father to do two things if he didn't return: Look after his puppy, Scrappy, and "take care of my guys."


Asia stocks sideswiped by Wall Street, but China motors on

A man looks at electronic boards outside a brokerage in Tokyo By Wayne Cole SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian shares were mostly under water on Friday after a sudden slump on Wall Street spilled over globally, though a surprisingly strong pick up in manufacturing helped Chinese markets hold at seven-month highs. In a promising omen for world growth China's official measure of industrial activity (PMI) rose to 51.7 in July from 51.0 in June, beating forecasts of 51.4 and the highest in 27 months. All of which helped China's stock markets top up the week's hefty gains. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was off 1 percent.


Hearing set on stabbing suspect's mental health

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — The mental health of one of two 12-year-old girls accused of stabbing a classmate to please a fictional character is up for discussion in a Wisconsin court.

Ebola patient coming to U.S. as aid workers' health worsens

Handout photo of Dr. Kent Brantly speaking with colleagues at the case management center on the campus of ELWA Hospital in Monrovia By Julie Steenhuysen and Colleen Jenkins CHICAGO/WINSTON-SALEM N.C. (Reuters) - A U.S. aid worker who was infected with the deadly Ebola virus while working in West Africa will be flown to the United States to be treated in a high-security ward at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, hospital officials said on Thursday. The aid worker, whose name has not been released, will be moved in the next several days to a special isolation unit at Emory. The unit was set up in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds said her agency was working with the U.S. State Department to facilitate the transfer.


Colorado to issue driver's licenses to immigrants

Adriana Gaytan, who came to Colorado in 1997 from the Mexican state of Zacatecas, second from left, sits at home with her children who were born in the U.S. from left to right, Osbaldo, 11, Oscar 13, Indhira, 14, and their dog Kissy, in Aurora, Colo., Thursday July 31, 2014. Gaytan will get a drivers license soon, as Colorado will begin issuing driver's licenses and identification cards to people who are in the country illegally or have temporary legal status. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) DENVER (AP) — Colorado will begin issuing driver's licenses and identification cards to immigrants Friday regardless of their legal status, underscoring a sea change in a state that less than a decade ago passed strict immigration enforcement laws.


Colorado considers a new look for edible pot

FILE - In this June 19, 2014, file photo, chef Alex Tretter carries a tray of cannabis-infused peanut butter and jelly cups to the oven for baking at Sweet Grass Kitchen, a well-established Denver-based gourmet marijuana edibles bakery which sells its confections to retail outlets throughout the state. Colorado marijuana regulators have drafted an emergency rule aimed at making it easier for new marijuana users to tell how much pot they are eating. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File) DENVER (AP) — Edible marijuana comes with all kinds of warning labels in Colorado. But once those pot brownies and gummy bears are out of the package, they can look identical to straight-laced treats.


Colorado to begin offering licenses for immigrants

Adriana Gaytan, who came to Colorado in 1997 from the Mexican state of Zacatecas, second from left, sits at home with her children who were born in the U.S. from left to right, Osbaldo, 11, Oscar 13, Indhira, 14, and their dog Kissy, in Aurora, Colo., Thursday July 31, 2014. Gaytan will get a drivers license soon, as Colorado will begin issuing driver's licenses and identification cards to people who are in the country illegally or have temporary legal status. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) DENVER (AP) — Thousands of immigrants have signed up to take advantage of a Colorado law that allows them to get drivers' licenses and identification cards beginning Friday, a heavy demand causing frustration for those who must wait.


N.Y.'s Met Opera, unions extend talks for 72 hours, lockout delayed

By Jonathan Allen NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York's Metropolitan Opera agreed to extend negotiations with its labor unions for 72 hours, preventing a threatened lockout at the nation's largest performing arts organization, the Met said late on Thursday. The Met Opera also said it had reached new contract agreements with three of the 15 involved labor unions. "We want to work together with union representatives and do everything we can to achieve new contracts, which is why we've agreed to an extension," Met General Manager Peter Gelb said in a statement. The dispute is the most acrimonious at the Met in decades, giving rise to the unusual spectacle of the Met's own musicians criticizing new productions mounted by general manager Peter Gelb as not very good except for the singing and playing.

GM boosted June sales with discounts to dealers

FILE - In this May 13, 2014 file photo, an auto worker inspects finished SUVs coming off the assembly line at the General Motors auto plant in Arlington, Texas. As General Motors tackles a safety crisis, a look at its numbers from June show just how intent the company is on keeping new-car sales on the rise during a record spate of safety recalls. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File) As General Motors prepares to report monthly sales results on Friday, a look its numbers from June show just how intent the company is on keeping new-car sales on the rise during a record spate of safety recalls.


BOJ's Kuroda defends upbeat economic view despite soft data

Bank of Japan Governor Kuroda attends a news conference at the BOJ headquarters in Tokyo By Leika Kihara and Stanley White TOKYO (Reuters) - Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda came out fighting on Friday, giving a spirited defence of the economy's performance after a run of weak data, and reiterated his readiness to expand stimulus if inflation faltered on the path to his 2 percent target rate. "The BOJ is not aiming at achieving the price stability target of 2 percent temporarily. "I would like to emphasize that...given the BOJ's clear and strong commitment to the 2 percent inflation target, it is a matter of course the BOJ will make adjustments if necessary to ensure the target is met," he said at a seminar. He stressed that the BOJ will vigilantly monitor how a decline in real income affects consumer spending.


Disappointment, uncertainty after India blocks WTO trade deal

WTO Director-General Azevedo gestures during a news conference on world trade in 2013 and prospect for 2014 in Geneva By Matt Siegel and Tom Miles SYDNEY/GENEVA (Reuters) - Several member states of the World Trade Organisation voiced frustration after India's demands for concessions on agricultural stockpiling led to the collapse of the first major global trade reform pact in two decades. WTO ministers had already agreed the global reform of customs procedures known as "trade facilitation" in Bali, Indonesia, last December, but were unable to overcome last minute Indian objections and get it into the WTO rule book by the July 31 deadline. "We have not been able to find a solution that would allow us to bridge that gap," WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo told trade diplomats in Geneva, just two hours before the final deadline for a deal lapsed at midnight (2200 GMT Thursday). Most diplomats had expected the pact to be rubber-stamped this week, marking a unique success in the WTO's 19-year history which according to some estimates would add $1 trillion and 21 million jobs to the world economy.


Asia stocks dip on Dow drop, China data cuts loss

FILE - This April 22, 2010, file photo, shows a Wall Street sign in front of the New York Stock Exchange. U.S. stocks slumped Thursday, July 31, 2014, as investors reacted to disappointing corporate earnings reports and assessed the implications of the approaching end to economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) HONG KONG (AP) — Most Asian stock markets dipped on Friday following a big sell-off on Wall Street but losses were limited by optimistic reports on China's economy.


Obama commemorates Special Olympics anniversary at star-studded White House event

President Obama attends celebration of Special Olympics By Annika McGinnis WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Katy Perry, Jason Derulo and Stevie Wonder were all there - but the only guest who got to give President Barack Obama a hug during his speech was restaurant owner Tim Harris. Harris has Down syndrome, but he owns his own restaurant and is a Special Olympics star in year-round sports. "Presidents need encouragement once in a while too...Thank you, Tim," Obama said after Harris left his seat during the president's remarks to give him a hug, Harris' trademark at his restaurant in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


City's day of reckoning over pensions delayed

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and aldermen won't grapple this fall with the financial reckoning the city faces over its underfunded police and fire pension systems, budget officials acknowledged Thursday.

WWI aviation still alive at aerodrome in New York

David King pilots a War War I-era Fokker DR-1 reproduction tri-plane during an air show at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome on Sunday, July 6, 2014, in Rhinebeck, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll) RHINEBECK, N.Y. (AP) — There's still a place where buzzing biplanes swoop in pursuit of German triplanes, where pilots in open cockpits let their scarves flutter in the wind.


U.S. job growth seen slowing, but remaining solid in July

Workers work on installing the motherboard to a 32-inch TV at Element Electronics in Winnsboro By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. job growth likely cooled a bit in July, but retained enough momentum to suggest the economy remained on solid ground. Still, it would mark the sixth straight month that employment has expanded by more than 200,000 jobs, a stretch last seen in 1997. The unemployment rate likely held at a six year-low of 6.1 percent, but could surprise on the downside after surveys showed Americans becoming more upbeat about jobs. "As long as we have job growth going in the right direction and the labor market tightening up, we are still in a good place," said Robert Dye, chief economist at Comerica in Dallas The economy grew at a 4.0 percent annual pace in the second quarter after shrinking at a 2.1 percent rate in the first three months of year.


Repairing burst Los Angeles main could take days

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power "Y" shaped juncture where a water rupture occurred, involving two main trunk lines is seen on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles Thursday, July 31, 2014. Work crews have stopped the last of the water gushing from a 30-inch pipe some 30 hours after it burst. Damage costs have yet to be pegged from the rupture of the pipeline that spewed more than 20 million gallons of water in the midst of California's worst drought in decades. The break in the 93-year-old pipe left a swath of the UCLA campus including its basketball arena swamped with water. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) LOS ANGELES (AP) — Repair crews on Thursday were shoring up a giant hole in the middle of Sunset Boulevard caused by a ruptured pipe, as officials at the water-logged University of California, Los Angeles, continued to assess damage from the 20 million gallons that inundated the campus.


China manufacturing activity surges in July

A man walks through a channel as he visits a beer museum in Qingdao, east China's Shandong province on July 24, 2014 The official purchasing managers index (PMI) hit 51.7 last month, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement. "We are optimistic about China's economic outlook in the remainder of this year, as the growth momentum is picking up while the inflation remains mild," ANZ Bank economists Liu Li-Gang and Zhou Hao said in a note reacting to the PMI survey. The index tracks manufacturing activity in China's factories and workshops and is a closely watched indicator of the health of the economy. Separately, British bank HSBC said its final PMI reading for July also came in at 51.7, up from 50.7 in June but weaker than the preliminary 52.0 announced last week.


China final HSBC PMI at 18-month peak in July, adds to signs of recovery

China's factory sector posted its strongest growth in 18 months in July as new orders surged to multi-month highs, a private survey showed on Friday, adding to signs the economy is regaining momentum helped by a spate of stimulus measures. The HSBC/Markit China manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) climbed to 51.7 last month, up from June's 50.7 but slightly below a preliminary reading of 52. Growth in new export orders accelerated at the second-fastest pace in 44 months, HSBC/Markit said. With Chinese authorities still easing policy through measures such as increasing bank lending and relaxing controls on the property market, HSBC economist Qu Hongbin said the economy has room to run.

China PMIs jump to multi-month highs in July, add to view economy is steadying

Workers install the chassis along a production line at a truck factory of Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co. Ltd (JAC Motors) in Hefei By Koh Gui Qing BEIJING (Reuters) - China's factories posted their strongest growth in at least 1-1/2 years in July as new orders surged to multi-month highs, two surveys showed on Friday, cementing bets that the economy is re-gaining momentum after a spate of stimulus measures. Now that looser monetary policy is having its intended effect, some analysts questioned the need for more economic stimulus in China, at least in the near term. "There is no reason in China to be concerned about growth right now," said Julian Evans-Pritchard, an economist at Capital Economics. Worried by a slowdown in the economy in the first quarter, China began easing policy in April by cutting taxes, hastening investment, and lowering the reserve requirement for some banks.


City sees rise in income tax collection

Income tax collections for the city of Toledo through June 30 are up almost 4 percent from collections in 2013, according to the city’s finance director.

Asia stocks dip on Dow drop, China data cuts loss

FILE - This April 22, 2010, file photo, shows a Wall Street sign in front of the New York Stock Exchange. U.S. stocks slumped Thursday, July 31, 2014, as investors reacted to disappointing corporate earnings reports and assessed the implications of the approaching end to economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) HONG KONG (AP) — Most Asian stock markets dipped on Friday following a big sell-off on Wall Street but losses were limited by optimistic reports on China's economy.


Solid US job gains expected for 6th straight month

WASHINGTON (AP) — With a host of reports this week pointing to a healthier U.S. economy, analysts expect Friday's monthly jobs report to send a similar message.

Solid US job gains expected for 6th straight month

WASHINGTON (AP) — With a host of reports this week pointing to a healthier U.S. economy, analysts expect Friday's monthly jobs report to send a similar message.

Today in History

Today is Friday, August 1, the 213th day of 2014. There are 152 days left in the year.

Victim shot in the neck in Chester

Victim shot in the neck in Chester Authorities are investigating after a victim was found with a gunshot wound to the neck in Chester.


Contractor and inspector stole $3.6 million from PennDOT, AG says

Contractor and inspector stole $3.6 million from PennDOT, AG says Two men, a contractor and an inspection consultant, have been charged with conspiring to steal $3.6 million in taxpayer money from PennDOT.


China house price fall accelerates in July: survey

A man walks past a construction site in Beijing on May 30, 2014 China's decline in property prices accelerated in July, an independent survey showed, adding to concerns over the sector, a key component of the world's second-largest economy. The average price of a new home in 100 major cities was 10,835 yuan ($1,757) per square metre last month, down 0.81 percent from June, the China Index Academy (CIA) said. All of China's 10 biggest cities posted month-on-month falls, with the average price in Beijing dropping 1.6 percent to 32,736 yuan per square metre. "Pressured by high inventory levels and elevated debt ratios, most property developers adopted a price cut strategy to boost sales," said CIA, the research unit of real estate website operator Soufun.


Vote on cigarette tax for Phila. schools postponed

Vote on cigarette tax for Phila. schools postponed The Pennsylvania House of Representatives' vote on a cigarette tax that would provide funding for Philadelphia schools has gone up in smoke.


Southbound lanes of I-495 bridge in Wilmington reopens

Southbound lanes of I-495 bridge in Wilmington reopens The southbound lanes of the Interstate 495 bridge in Wilmington was reopened to traffic today - one month ahead of schedule.


Cigarette tax for Philly schools stalls, jobs jeopardized

Vote on cigarette tax for Phila. schools postponed The Pennsylvania House of Representatives' vote on a cigarette tax that would provide funding for Philadelphia schools has gone up in smoke.


1 dead in Tioga-Nicetown triple shooting

1 dead in Tioga-Nicetown triple shooting Authorities say one person was killed in a triple shooting in Philadelphia's Tioga-Nicetown section.


Argentine markets fall post-default, New York hearing on Friday

A woman walks past a graffiti in Buenos Aires By Sarah Marsh and Richard Lough BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina's bond and stock markets and peso currency dropped on Thursday after Latin America's No. 3 economy defaulted for the second time in 12 years following the collapse of last-ditch talks with holdout creditors. The default came after Argentina failed to strike a deal with lead holdout investors NML Capital Ltd, an affiliate of Elliott Management Corp and Aurelius Capital Management, in time for a midnight Wednesday EDT (0400 GMT) payment deadline. "Those who expect us to sign any old thing, threatening us that the world will come to an end otherwise, should not count on me," Argentine President Cristina Fernandez said in her first comments since the default. The government maintains it has not defaulted because it made a required interest payment on one of its bonds due 2033, but U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa in Manhattan blocked that deposit in June, saying it violated his ruling.


U.S. warns against traveling to Ebola-hit countries

U.S. health officials are warning Americans not to travel to the three African countries hit by an outbreak of Ebola.

Deal struck to conserve Colorado River basin

DENVER (AP) — The Interior Department and four municipal water providers in the West are contributing $11 million to fund projects aimed at conserving water in the Colorado River basin, which supplies water to about 40 million people in seven states.

Default fuels uncertainty, stock drop in Argentina

An office worker looks at a man sleeping inside the basket he uses to collect cardboard for recycling, at the financial district in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday, July 31, 2014. The collapse of talks with U.S. creditors sent Argentina into its second debt default in 13 years and raised questions about what comes next for financial markets and the South American nation's staggering economy. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina entered economic limbo Thursday, forced into a default that could undermine an already frail economy if a dispute with U.S. creditors is not resolved soon.


Default fuels uncertainty, stock drop in Argentina

An office worker looks at a man sleeping inside the basket he uses to collect cardboard for recycling, at the financial district in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday, July 31, 2014. The collapse of talks with U.S. creditors sent Argentina into its second debt default in 13 years and raised questions about what comes next for financial markets and the South American nation's staggering economy. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina entered economic limbo Thursday, forced into a default that could undermine an already frail economy if a dispute with U.S. creditors is not resolved soon.


Sudan woman who faced death over faith lands in Philly

Sudan woman who faced death over faith lands in Philly A Sudanese woman who refused to recant her Christian faith in the face of a death sentence arrived Thursday in the United States. She was welcomed first in Philadelphia by Mayor Nutter who called her a "world freedom fighter."


Boat collision off Fla. Keys kills 1, injures 1

MIAMI (AP) — A boat collision off the Florida Keys has left one woman dead and injured another.

US prosecutor warns Cuomo over corruption probe

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A criminal defense attorney said Thursday that he has been retained by the office of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a federal prosecutor threatened to widen an investigation into the governor's handling of an anti-corruption commission.

Obamacare subsidy case could be reviewed by U.S. Supreme Court

A woman walks to the Supreme Court in Washington (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to review a case about whether the federal government can subsidize health insurance for millions of Americans, a party involved in the lawsuit said on Thursday. The petition requests the U.S. high court decide the issue after two lower U.S. court rulings created uncertainties last week regarding the legitimacy of subsidies for individuals enrolled on federally run exchanges under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. The Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is coordinating and funding the cases, filed the petition, according to the not-for-profit's website. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in a 2-1 decision that the language in the Affordable Care Act dealing with subsidies shows they should only be provided to consumers who purchase benefits on exchanges run by individual states.


Business as unusual for sanguine Argentines in default deja vu

By Sarah Marsh BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina may have defaulted on its debt for the second time in 12 years on Thursday, but the packed elegant cafes in Buenos Aires show little sign of distress and shoppers rather than protestors fill the streets. Jose Bini, a 27-year-old Argentine entrepreneur, shrugged off the news of the default with resigned laughter, saying he was used to economic crises. "I have lived through two defaults, hyperinflation, an economic crash, stagflation and I'm only 27." Argentina, which is already mired in recession, failed on Wednesday to strike a deal with "holdout" hedge funds suing the nation for full payment of their defaulted bonds in time for a midnight deadline. The peso fell 2.52 percent to 12.570 per dollar and currency traders on the streets of Buenos Aires said there had been no rush to buy safe-haven dollars.

Tea Party out-muscles Boehner on border-security funding

People hoping to reach the U.S. ride atop the wagon of a freight train, known as La Bestia (The Beast) in Ixtepec By Richard Cowan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bill to fund border security blew up in House Speaker John Boehner's face on Thursday, leaving Republicans in disarray and struggling to reconcile Tea Party demands with the need to deal with a humanitarian crisis on the southwestern border with Mexico. A carefully crafted, $659 million bill to pay for more border security and help feed and house tens of thousands of Central American children arriving illegally in the United States unexpectedly collapsed on Thursday. Tea Party-backed Senator Ted Cruz of Texas had his fingerprints all over Thursday's debacle for Boehner. The measure, complained Cruz, would not reverse President Barack Obama's 2012 policy of suspending deportations of undocumented residents who were brought to the United States as children by their parents.


For wandering tankers with $300 million of Kurdish crude, end-game still in doubt

By Jonathan Saul LONDON (Reuters) - After a legal show-down in Texas this week, the outlook for a handful of tankers holding some $300 million worth of Kurdish oil is not looking good. Unless they can seal last-minute discreet sales or reach some kind of deal with Baghdad over how to share oil revenues, experts say, chances are slim of unloading ships now dotted around the globe, from Texas to Malaysia. "There will not be many people who will want to take the cargo in circumstances where there is a dispute about the ownership of it," said Ben Knowles of law firm Clyde & Co. Iraqi Kurdistan is exporting crude oil independently of Baghdad in a bid toward seizing greater political and economic autonomy, in spite of Baghdad's protests that it has the sole authority to sell Iraqi oil. In the modern maritime world, satellite vessel tracking technology and a globally networked shipping system make it nearly impossible for the Kurds to quietly unload the vessel at some remote port without the intervention of Baghdad, which says the oil has been illegally sold outside its control.
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