- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dems attack as confident Republicans tread carefully after Supreme Court birth control ruling

WASHINGTON (AP) - Republicans called it a win for religious freedom. The decision of the Supreme Court, they said, is further evidence the country’s new health care law is deeply flawed.

The claims of victory arrived almost immediately after the high court ruled Monday that some companies need not provide contraception to women as required by President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement. Yet there’s a risk for the GOP in crowing too loudly.

Republicans for years have tried to make inroads with two groups that tend to favor Democrats: women and younger voters. And as popular as the court’s decision will be with the Republican base, it’s likely to be just as unpopular this year and into 2016 with those who depend on insurance to pay for birth control - a group that includes women and younger voters.

“The thought of your boss telling you what kind of birth control you can and can’t get is offensive and it certainly is motivating to women to vote,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, which plans to spend several million dollars this year to campaign for Senate candidates.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that some companies can hold religious objections allowing them to opt out of health law’s birth control coverage requirement. While the ruling does not address the heart of the Affordable Care Act, it’s a setback for Democrats and amplifies a longstanding argument from conservatives that the law they call “Obamacare” intrudes on religious liberties as part of a larger government overreach.


Hamas member killed in clashes with Israeli troops hours after bodies of missing teens found

JERUSALEM (AP) - A Palestinian from the militant group Hamas was shot dead when he threw a grenade at forces carrying out an arrest raid in the West Bank hours after the discovery of the bodies of three Israeli teenagers who were abducted over two weeks ago, Israel’s military said Tuesday.

Tensions have soared since the bodies were found, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blaming Hamas and warning it “will pay,” while militants in Hamas-controlled Gaza have stepped up rocket attacks, drawing Israeli retaliatory airstrikes and risking a wider conflict.

Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, a 16-year-old with dual Israeli-American citizenship, were abducted on June 12 while hitchhiking home from the Jewish seminaries where they were studying near the West Bank city of Hebron. The teens’ bodies were found Monday evening after 18 days of intense searches.

A Defense official said based on the investigation that the teens were shot soon after they were abducted. He spoke anonymously in line with protocol as the investigation is still ongoing.

Hamas, which has kidnapped Israelis in the past, has praised the abduction of the teenagers but not taken responsibility for it.


10 Things to Know for Today

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:


But crowing too loudly could cause trouble for Republicans, who for years have tried to make inroads with two groups most likely to be displeased with the ruling: women and younger voters.


Candidates fill inboxes with fundraising appeals; most would settle for $5

WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican Sen. Marco Rubio hopes everyone’s summer is off to a good start. Please send money.

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown is working on a constitutional amendment to negate a Supreme Court ruling on political activity by independent groups. In the meantime, please send money.

Rick Weiland, a Democrat running for the Senate in South Dakota, would like $9, please. Many other candidates in both parties would settle for $5.

Welcome to the unending, inbox-clogging world of online campaign fundraising, set against a backdrop of Monday’s Federal Election Commission deadline for candidates to disclose their campaign finances. The more an office-seeker reports having in the bank, the more there is available for the fall campaign. But it’s not just the money that counts, it’s the appearance of it.

“In just 15 hours, I’ll have to close the books on our second quarter FEC report,” wrote Jenny Nadicksbernd, finance director for Sen. Mark Warner. “That report will be looked at by Karl Rove and his special interest pals to see if they should launch attacks against” the Virginia Democrat, she added.


Iraq’s parliament convenes amid pressure to select new prime minister who can unify country

BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraq’s new parliament convened for the first time Tuesday amid intense pressure to quickly choose a new prime minster who can confront a militant blitz that threatens to tear country apart and a spike in violence that made June the deadliest month of the year.

The country’s top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, urged lawmakers last week to agree on a prime minister, president and parliament speaker before Tuesday’s meeting in hopes of averting months of wrangling that could further destabilize the country. But the prospects of a quick compromise appear distant, and embattled incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki - whose bloc won the most seats in April elections - has shown little willingness to step aside.

More than 250 of the legislature’s 328 members were in attendance for Tuesday’s session at parliament, which is located in the heavily guarded Green Zone in central Baghdad. The proceedings opened with the playing of Iraq’s national anthem, and lawmakers then took the oath of office.

But the recent offensive spearheaded by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an al-Qaida breakaway group that has overrun much of northern and western Iraq, loomed over the lawmakers’ meeting.

“There are many issues that need to be discussed today, but I believe that the most important one is to restore security and stability to Iraq, which is an essential condition for reform and development,” said Mahdi al-Hafidh, who as the legislature’s oldest member chaired the session.


Japan’s government approves larger military role in major reinterpretation of constitution

TOKYO (AP) - Japan took a step away Tuesday from an American-drafted constitution that has long kept its military shackled, approving a plan to allow greater use of a force that was vanquished at the end of World War II.

In one of the biggest changes to Japanese security policy since the war, the Cabinet approved a reinterpretation of the constitution on military affairs.

The contentious move will allow the military to help defend other nations in what is known as “collective self-defense.”

Previous governments have said that Japan’s war-renouncing constitution limits the use of force to defending Japan.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in a televised news conference, said the shift is intended to protect the lives and security of the Japanese people. For example, he said, Japanese warships would be able to help protect U.S. ships that were fighting to defend Japan.


Obama on collision course with GOP with go-it-alone strategy on immigration

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama’s abrupt shift from seeking immigration legislation to pursuing a go-it-alone executive strategy raises expectations among immigration advocates that Obama may have trouble satisfying while setting up a clash with House Republicans who’ve already threatened to sue him.

Limited in his powers to ease deportations and under pressure to crack down on a tide of Central American children entering the U.S. without their parents, Obama has only so many options to tackle an immigration conundrum complicated by a midterm election that could cost him Democratic control of the Senate.

Obama on Monday blamed Republican resistance for the demise of sweeping immigration legislation and vowed to bypass Congress to patch up the system. “If Congress will not do their job, at least we can do ours,” Obama said.

But seeking to slow deportations while simultaneously stemming the flow of young people across the U.S. Southern border presents Obama with a knotty set of policy choices.

He has asked Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder for recommendations by the end of summer on the types of executive actions he could take to address some of the aims of a comprehensive bipartisan bill that passed the Senate last year. Among the steps he could consider would be to focus deportations on people with serious criminal records, something the administration has already tried to do, with mixed results.


Chauvinistic or charming? 5 memorable World Cup chants

SAO PAULO (AP) - With “I believe that we will win!” American soccer fans finally have a World Cup chant that doesn’t just involve shouting their country’s name.

In terms of creativity, though, it’s a notch below Argentina’s elaborate sing-alongs or even the boisterous chants of the English.

All players can testify to the goose bump-inducing effect of thousands of fans joining together for a synchronized chant.

While most fans simply spell out the name of their country, from Chile’s “Chi-chi-chi Le-le-le” to Germany’s “Deutschland, Deutschland,” some have developed more creative chants that celebrate their own teams while poking fun at their opponents.

The trick is to be cheeky without being offensive; national team chants are usually less vulgar than those sung by fans of club teams around the world.


United States forward Chris Wondolowski a hero to Kiowa Tribe, Native Americans

CARNEGIE, Okla. (AP) - The chatter at the Kiowa Tribal Complex was a bit unusual Monday afternoon.

Brent Bear, Keith Vasquez and Steve Quoetone went back and forth about the United States soccer team. Among the questions: Could the U.S. handle Belgium’s star-studded lineup in Tuesday’s World Cup knockout stage showdown? Would Jurgen Klinsmann use more of an attacking style or sit back?

Those kinds of questions, the men concluded, never would have been asked around here four years ago. But back then, the Kiowa didn’t have one of their own representing them on the most grand of sports stages. In the past few years, Chris Wondolowski has emerged as a star and made the tightly knit group of 12,000 people care about a sport that never mattered to them before.

“He’s become a hero to the Kiowa tribe,” Vasquez, a Kiowa spokesman, said. “He has a following around the area that’s gaining more and more as time goes by, and I hope that it progresses more than it has so far.”

There is no downplaying Wondolowski’s impact on the towns of Carnegie, Hobart, Lawton and Anadarko, in the southwest part of Oklahoma where most Kiowa live. Native American athletes rarely make it in big-time sports, and certainly not in soccer.


GM recalls another 8.2 million cars for ignition switch problems as recall crisis grows

DETROIT (AP) - General Motors’ safety crisis deepened dramatically Monday when the automaker added 8.2 million vehicles to its ballooning list of cars recalled over faulty ignition switches.

The latest recalls involve mainly older midsize cars and bring GM’s total recalls in North America to 29 million this year, surpassing the 22 million recalled by all automakers last year. They also raise questions about the safety of ignition switches in cars made by all manufacturers.

In the latest recalls, GM said keys may be jostled or accidentally bumped, causing the ignition to slip out of the “run” position. The recalls cover seven vehicles, including the Chevrolet Malibu from 1997 to 2005, the Pontiac Grand Prix from 2004 to 2008, and the 2003-2014 Cadillac CTS.

The company is aware of three deaths, eight injuries and seven crashes involving the vehicles, although it says there’s no clear evidence that faulty switches caused the accidents. Air bags didn’t deploy in the three fatal accidents, which is a sign that the ignition was out of position. But air bags may not deploy for other reasons as well.

A GM spokesman couldn’t say Monday if more recalls are imminent. But this may be the end of the recalls associated with a 60-day review of all of the company’s ignition switches. At the company’s annual meeting earlier in June, CEO Mary Barra said she hoped most recalls related to that review would be completed by the end of the month.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide