CNN: A day after coup, Egyptians awake to uncertainty
Egyptians awoke to an uncertain new political order on Thursday, a day after the military deposed and reportedly detained the country's first democratically elected president, put a top judge in his place and suspended the constitution. The coup that toppled Mohamed Morsy as president on Wednesday brought hundreds of thousands of people into the streets across Egypt to both applaud and assail the generals' decision to take control of the country's politics for the second time in a little over two years. It also left a series of significant questions unanswered.
CNN: McCain arrives in Afghanistan on Fourth of July visit
U.S. Senator John McCain arrived on an unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Thursday, a coalition spokeswoman told CNN. The Arizona Republican is expected to meet with U.S. forces.
CNN: Your forecast for the 4th: A soggy Southeast; a scorched Southwest
It'll be firecracker hot in the Southwest on the Fourth of July, but if you live in the Southeast, Ohio River Valley and large sections of the Eastern Seaboard, expect rain to pour on your parade. Triple-digit temperatures will be the norm across large chunks of California, Nevada and Arizona, as they have been since the weekend. The forecast cools into the 90s by Saturday. On the other hand, Independence Day picnics will be extra soggy from the Florida panhandle to southern Ohio, with flood watches covering an area some 800 miles long and 300 miles wide. While dozens of communities across the country canceled or cut back on their celebrations, others will soldier on - undeterred by nature's temper tantrum. It is, after all, Independence Day. And we're not about to let anyone dictate what we can or cannot do.
CNN: Active military, veterans can see 'White House Down' for free on July 4
Reuters: South Carolina July 4 flyover will be a blast from the past
Richmond Times-Dispatch: Four immigrants tell how they'll celebrate the Fourth
CNN: Moment of silence only interruption in effort to end Arizona fire
Firefighters determined to snuff out a wildfire that killed 19 of their colleagues scoured the scorched earth near Prescott, Arizona, on Wednesday, searching for smoldering vegetation that could reignite and further spread the deadly Yarnell Hill blaze. The nearly 600 firefighters and support workers assigned to the fire paused only to observe a moment of silence in honor of the 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, who died Sunday when the fire took a sudden unexpected turn.
WX Post: Western wildfires’ size, intensity and impact are increasing, experts say
LA Times: Rain helps in battle against Arizona wildfire
CNN: Court records: Search of Hernandez's apartment reveals new evidence
A search of an apartment leased by former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez recovered ammunition from the same caliber gun used to kill his friend Odin Lloyd, court documents reveal. Massachusetts State Police searched the apartment in Franklin on June 26. Authorities found new evidence, including .45-caliber ammunition and a white hooded sweatshirt, search warrants obtained by CNN reveal.
WATCH: VIDEO CNN's Deborah Feyerick looks at the crime scene in the murder case against former NFL player Aaron Hernandez.
CNN: Obama urges quick return to civilian leadership in Egypt
President Barack Obama expressed deep concern on Wednesday about the Egyptian military's removal of that nation's first democratically elected president, calling for a quick return to civilian leadership and ordering a review of U.S. law regarding aid to the vital Middle East ally. "The United States continues to believe firmly that the best foundation for lasting stability in Egypt is a democratic political order with participation from all sides and all political parties," Obama said in a statement about the move to oust Mohamed Morsy a year after he took office.
CNN: Obama chose his words on Egypt carefully - for a reason
President Barack Obama's statement about the Egyptian military's seizure of power is as telling for what he doesn't say as for what he does: he doesn't mention the word "coup." He doesn't call upon the military to restore power to "the democratically elected civilian government," but rather to "a democratically elected civilian government." In other words, it need not be deposed President Mohamed Morsy's.
NYT: White House Calls Westboro Church Protests 'Reprehensible'
The White House said on Wednesday that it views anti-gay protests of Westboro Baptist Church at military funerals as "reprehensible" but acknowledged it could do little about the group. The White House made its comments after five petitions created by Americans on its "We the People" website attracted almost 675,000 signatures. The petitions asked the government to name the church, based in Topeka, Kansas, as a hate group, or end its tax-exempt status. The White House responded that it could not directly comment on the requests, and noted that the government does not keep a list of hate groups.
WX Post: Delay of employer mandate in health-care law heightens stakes for Obama administration
The surprise decision to delay the requirement that businesses offer health insurance to their employees or pay a penalty represents a significant symbolic setback for the Obama administration, one that focuses attention on a larger question: Can government effectively implement something as big and complex as the Affordable Care Act?
SEE ALSO: Bloomberg: Obama Shields Democrats From Unpopular Health-Care Law for 2014
CNN: Sen. Mark Udall's brother found dead
Colorado Sen. Mark Udall's brother died on a hiking trip in the Rocky Mountains, officials said. Randy Udall, 61, went on a hike in the Wind River Range in Wyoming on June 20 and was expected back six days later. When the experienced hiker did not return, family members reported him missing. Rescue crews and helicopters scoured mountain passes to find him. A helicopter search team discovered his body in a remote area on Wednesday afternoon, the Sublette County Sheriff's Office said.
CNN: CBO: Senate immigration bill would cut undocumented flow 33% – 50%
The immigration bill passed by the Senate last week would block between 33% and 50% more undocumented residents from entering the U.S. than current law, according to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office. That's an increase from the CBO's estimate of 25 percent for the original committee version. It's not clear if that will mollify conservatives who insist any immigration bill must block virtually all illegal border crossings. But, meantime, supporters of reform are quickly celebrating the pre-Independence Day report.
SEE ALSO: CNN: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker supports path to citizenship
The Hill: Town Hall Highlights: Immigration, Farm Bill, Gay Rights and Health Law
All over the country this week, people are stocking beer coolers, hauling burger buns, lighting barbecues and attending town hall events hosted by members of Congress. It’s a ritual leading up to July Fourth, when lawmakers head home to their districts for a weeklong recess to meet with constituents and answer questions about the pressing issues up for debate on Capitol Hill. This year, immigration, health care and farm policy have been topics of conversation. We’ve rounded up coverage of five different town hall meetings hosted by House members across the United States to give you a taste of what’s been going on.
BuzzFeed: Mitch McConnell Gets Back To Talking About How Great Earmarks Are
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is back in his home state of Kentucky this week, taking credit for the stacks of federal taxpayer cash he’s sent back to the Bluegrass State. Republicans, and McConnell especially, have an awkward relationship with so-called “earmarks” — the government money that used to be traded for votes on Capitol Hill — and three days after getting a Democratic opponent in his reelection bid, McConnell’s awkwardness with earmarks was on full display.
The Hill: Outside groups put pressure on GOP to confirm EPA nominee
A pair of business and environmental organizations are mounting an advertising blitz against GOP senators that they hope will break the impasse over Environmental Protection Agency nominee Gina McCarthy. Republican senators have placed a hold on McCarthy’s nomination, and there are rumblings that the party might filibuster her nomination when it comes to the floor. The groups are trying to ward off that possibility by pressuring GOP lawmakers who have in the past supported or been linked to centrist or liberal energy policies.
CNN: Anti-abortion groups pushing Rubio on 20-week abortion ban bill
Sen. Marco Rubio is considering a request by anti-abortion groups to sponsor a bill in the Senate that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks, an adviser to the Florida Republican confirmed to CNN. "I can tell you that the pro-life groups are asking Senator Rubio to sponsor the bill in the Senate. He's on a family vacation this week and will decide when he returns to D.C. next week," said the adviser, who asked for anonymity to speak more freely.
Boston Globe: Health mandate reprieve probable
Massachusetts employers, which are required to pay a penalty if they fail to provide health insurance for their workers, are likely to get an 18-month reprieve from the mandate, a central piece of the state’s first-in-the nation health care law. The state budget awaiting Governor Deval Patrick’s signature would repeal the penalty to clear the way for a similar provision in the federal Affordable Care Act that was set to take effect in January. But the Obama administration announced Tuesday that it would delay the employer penalties in the national law until 2015, citing the complexity of the program. Patrick said Tuesday that he was still considering whether to take action to extend the state penalty but was likely to move ahead with the repeal.
CNN: State spent more than $600k to attract Facebook fans
The State Department has dramatically cut its funding for social media after an inspector general's report found the department spent excessive amounts on advertising for some of its Facebook pages. Released in May, the IG report found that the Bureau of International Information Programs spent $630,000 on two advertising campaigns to expand the numbers of fans for four of its Facebook pages–as well as the translated versions of those pages.
NYT: After a Stumble, Tech Lobby Refocuses on Immigration
Fwd.us’ stated goal was to overhaul immigration law. But its first steps included financing flashy, campaign-style television ads for conservative lawmakers, whose votes were seen as crucial to passing an immigration bill in the Senate. The ads promoted their pet conservative causes, including the Keystone XL pipeline. Fwd.us immediately lost many of its existing and would-be supporters in the valley. Now the group is trying to turn around its image as it gears up for the fight for immigration overhaul in the House.
NPR: Democrats Want To Mess With Texas? GOP Says Not So Fast
Democrats see opportunity in Texas' fast-growing Latino population. But the Republican Party is strong in Texas — very strong. Nearly two-thirds of the Texas Legislature stands with the GOP. Republican candidates have won 100 statewide elections in a row — and they're beating Democrats by a margin of between 13 and 18 percentage points.
CNN: Bolivian president returns home after Snowden rumor delays flight
President Evo Morales returned to Bolivia late Wednesday after his plane was delayed in Europe under suspicions that U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden had hitched a ride. A small, but energetic crowded greeted Morales, chanting his name and waving Bolivian flags.
SEE ALSO: BBC: Snowden case: France apologizes in Bolivia plane row
WATCH: VIDEO CNN: Matthew Chance reports on outrage in South America over treatment of Bolivia's president on his trip home from Russia.
CNN: Ecuador: Spy microphone recorded secret conversations inside London embassy
Ecuador is calling for British authorities to help investigate after officials found a secret recording device planted inside the South American country's embassy in London. A "spy microphone" was found inside the Ecuadorian ambassador's office on June 14, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino told reporters Wednesday. It was hidden inside a small white box inside an electrical outlet, partially covered by a bookshelf, he said. The discovery, Patino said, "very seriously concerns us."
Military Times: Military closes, cuts hours at some swimming pools
In the sweltering days of summer, members of the military and their families like to cool off by using low-cost swimming pools found on many bases around the world. But this year the annual tradition of swimming laps under the sun and whizzing down waterslides behind heavily protected gates is taking a hit due to automatic budget cuts.
CNN: Anwar al-Awlaki visited prostitutes, FBI documents say
In the months after the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, FBI agents conducted surveillance of U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and uncovered detailed information about his alleged use of prostitutes, according to newly released FBI documents. The information is contained in documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group.
TRANSPORTATION, REGULATION and JUSTICE:
CNN: S.F. transit strike's third day could have $200 million impact
San Francisco's public transit strike was in its third day Wednesday, with the financial toll so far likely to top $200 million, economists estimate. Negotiations between Bay Area Rapid Transit and union leaders stretched until nearly 3 a.m. Wednesday, CNN affiliate KGO reported. Progress was made, but no deal was reached.
SEE ALSO: Silicon Valley Mercury News: With no BART, 4th of July plans shift
NYT: U.S. Border Agency Allows Others to Use Its Drones
As Congress considers a new immigration law that would expand the fleet of unmanned drones along the border, the agency in charge of border protection is increasingly offering the military-grade drones it already owns to domestic law enforcement agencies and has considered equipping them with “nonlethal weapons,” according to documents recently made public. The documents, which include flight logs over the last three years, were unearthed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation through a Freedom of Information lawsuit. Agencies that have used the 10 Predator drones owned by the Customs and Border Protection Agency have deployed them to investigate fishing violations, search for missing persons and inspect levees along the Mississippi River, among other things.
Associated Press: Gasoline prices begin summer slide
Gasoline prices are on a summer slide, giving U.S. drivers a break as they set out for the beach and other vacation spots for the Fourth of July. The national average for a gallon has fallen for 21 days straight and is now below $3.50 for the first time since February. The reason: Oil prices have been relatively stable, and refineries are turning out more gasoline after completing springtime maintenance.
New Orleans Times-Picayune: Inspector General: 8 years after Hurricane Katrina, National Guard still has communications problems
After major communications problems during Hurricane Katrina, the National Guard Bureau fielded 97 Joint Incident Site Communications Capability Systems to insure better communications among federal, state and local rescue workers. The goal was to insure interoperability among the different communications systems used by first responders. But a new report Wednesday from the Defense Department Inspector General said major problems remain, compromising response time by the National Guard, the military's first responders.
Sacramento Bee: Calif. lawmakers pass K-12 transgender-rights bill
California lawmakers approved a bill Wednesday that would require public K-12 schools to let transgender students choose which restrooms they use and which school teams they join based on their gender identity instead of their chromosomes. Some school districts around the country have implemented similar policies, but the bill's author says AB1266 would mark the first time a state has mandated such treatment by statute.
CBS: Colo. sheriffs challenge new gun control laws
The nation’s newest and toughest gun control laws have led to new contradictions. At the Firing Line gun shop in Aurora, magazines holding more than 15 rounds were packed away. But manager Richard Taylor says mandating smaller clips won't make a difference.
Chicago Tribune: Council tactician Mell bowing out after nearly 4 decades
The 'Council Wars' veteran guided Blagojevich to power. Chicago political legends have always been part chess master, part dynasty builder, part street muscle and part colorful scamp, qualities that perfectly define the storied career of Dick Mell, who on Wednesday announced his retirement after nearly four decades as 33rd Ward alderman. The 74-year-old Mell will most famously be remembered for making the political career of his son-in-law, Rod Blagojevich, and then openly regretting it years before federal juries convicted the former governor of corruption.
CNN: Coney Island hot dog contest signals normalcy after Sandy
The annual July 4 Coney Island hot dog eating contest is usually a "can't-miss" spectacle, but this year's event means something more. It will officially signal that the home of the famous boardwalk and the "Cyclone" roller coaster in Brooklyn is back on its feet nearly nine months after Superstorm Sandy devastated many of its businesses.
CNN: Egypt's coup: What we know so far
After days of mass demonstrations, Egypt's military finally ousted Mohamed Morsy, the country's first democratically elected president, in the country's second revolution in two years. Morsy, a Western-educated Islamist aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood movement, had rejected an ultimatum delivered by the military to resolve the crisis within 48 hours, creating a stand-off with the military, the most powerful institution in the country. In a televised speech to the nation, Egypt's top military officer, Gen. Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi, said Morsy "did not achieve the goals of the people" during his single year in office.
Al Jazeera: International reactions to Morsi's removal
CNN: Egypt unrest: 5 key questions
Two years after massive demonstrations forced out longtime leader Hosni Mubarak, Egypt finds itself right back where it started. This time, protests have led to the removal of Mohamed Morsy, the country's first democratically elected president. Some are calling it Egypt's "second revolution." They got their wish Wednesday, when the country's military leaders confirmed that it had ousted Morsy. How did it get to this point, and what's next for Egypt? A look at five key questions.
SEE ALSO: NYT: Ambassador Becomes Focus of Egyptians’ Mistrust of U.S.
WATCH: VIDEO Can Egypt's economy stabilize? John Defterios explains how Egypt's economy impacts the oil market.
CNN: Meet Adly Mansour, Egypt's new leader
It's been a momentous week for Judge Adly Mansour. On Monday, he became the head of Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court. Just two days later, the 67-year-old was installed as the country's president after a military coup ousted Mohammed Morsy from power. In a televised speech to the nation Wednesday night, Egypt's top military officer announced that Mansour would become the country's interim leader.
BBC: Japan begins upper house election campaign
Campaigning has kicked off for Japan's upper house elections, which will take place on 21 July. The parliamentary vote will be seen as a referendum on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ruling party. Mr. Abe currently enjoys high approval ratings, and his Liberal Democratic Party is expected to do well. A conclusive LDP win would end years of parliamentary deadlock. Currently, opposition parties are able to block government bills in the upper house.
Times of London: PM’s secret letter calls for influx of foreign pupils
Britain should encourage large numbers of foreign pupils to attend state schools under a controversial plan pushed by David Cameron which could see overseas parents charged thousands of pounds in fees. The recommendation, which comes in a leaked letter from the Prime Minister’s private secretary that was obtained by The Times, is likely to trigger a massive row about fees and the capacity of the state school sector.
CNN: South Korea eyes talks to re-open Kaesong complex
South Korea on Thursday proposed to hold working-level talks with the Pyongyang on re-opening the suspended joint industrial complex at Kaesong in North Korea. The proposal comes a day after North Korea invited businessmen from South Korean companies to re-access the zone to check on their facilities and equipment. If the North agrees, the talks will be held in the border area of Panmunjom on Saturday.
Associated Press: Upbeat US jobs report buoys Asian stocks
Encouraging news on the US economy boosted most Asian stock markets Thursday as investors followed Wall Street's lead in shrugging off political turmoil in Egypt and worrying developments in Europe's debt crisis. Hong Kong's Hang Seng led the modest rally, jumping 1.8 percent to 20,508.02 after reports that fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week and ADP, a payrolls processor, said that businesses added more jobs last month than analysts had expected.
Bloomberg: BlackBerry Fades in Fight to Be No. 3 in Mobile
BlackBerry’s chances of becoming a viable contender to Apple Inc. and Google Inc. in the smartphone market are dimming amid lackluster demand for its flagship touch-screen device. Corporate information-technology departments have long wanted a third alternative to Apple’s iPhones and devices based on Google’s Android operating system, to ensure innovation and price competition. Yet many businesses are dropping support for BlackBerry as employees flock to touch-screen devices from Apple, Samsung Electronics Co. and others, according to makers of software used by companies to manage smartphones at work.
BBC: Nestle and Danone to lower baby milk prices in China
Food giants Nestle and Danone have said they will cut prices of some of their infant milk formula products in China. The move comes a day after China launched a probe into alleged price fixing by foreign infant milk makers. Demand for foreign brands has surged in China after tainted milk scandals resulted in distrust of local rivals.
CNBC: SEC to Lift Ban on Hedge-Fund Advertising
U.S. securities regulators plan to meet next week to adopt rules that would lift a long-time ban prohibiting hedge funds and other firms from advertising for private placements to sophisticated investors. The scheduling of the open meeting next Wednesday at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission signals that its new chair, Mary Jo White, believes she has enough votes to get the measure passed, following nearly a year of deadlock over the issue.
Reuters: FCC approves Sprint-Clearwire-SoftBank deal: sources
U.S. regulators on Wednesday collected the final vote to approve the merger of Sprint Nextel Corp and SoftBank Corp, sources familiar with the situation said, clearing the last hurdle in the Japanese company's drawn-out battle to take control of the No. 3 U.S. wireless provider. All three Federal Communications Commission members voted in favor of that merger as well as Sprint's related bid to buy out the shares of wireless company Clearwire Corp that it does not already own, said the sources who spoke anonymously because the approval has not yet been announced publicly. In filings with the FCC, Sprint, Clearwire and SoftBank had said they hoped to close both deals on July 8 or 9.
BBC: Rupert Murdoch secret tapes: News Corp defends head
News Corp has defended chief Rupert Murdoch after a secret recording was released of him criticizing the police inquiry into alleged phone hacking. Talking in March to a group of Sun journalists – many of whom are under investigation – he complains about "totally incompetent" police officers. The recording was obtained by the Exaro website and broadcast on Channel 4 News on Wednesday. News Corp said Mr. Murdoch had shown "understandable empathy" with staff.