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NASCAR Fans Defend, Display Confederate Flag At Daytona
Steven Rebenstorf has numerous flags flying atop his canopy tent inside Daytona International Speedway. The Confederate flag is front and center. It's been like that for years. And the 57-year-old Rebenstorf has no plans to take it down — not even if NASCAR decides to ban the embattled flag from its racetracks. "They'd have to come and get it," Rebenstorf said Saturday, pointing out that his American flag purposely flies a few inches higher than the rest. Rebenstorf and others staunchly defended their Confederate flags at NASCAR's first race in the South since the racing series and its tracks urged fans to no longer wave the banner. Dozens were scattered throughout the vast infield all weekend leading to Sunday's race. MSNBC
VOA VIEW: Southern pride waves.

Ted Cruz On Supreme Court: The Justices 'Put On An Obama Jersey'
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, argued on NBC's "Meet the Press" that members of the Supreme Court "put on an Obama jersey" by voting to uphold the Affordable Care Act and strike down restrictions on same sex marriage. "It is the justices who have politicized the Court," claimed the republican presidential contender, who proposed a Constitutional amendment for periodic judicial retention elections as a way of reducing what he sees as the politicization of the judicial branch. When asked if this would actually polarize the Court further, he pushed back and said, "Look, we are polarized. And they [the justices] have seized political issues. They have become, effectively, politicians. And that's wrong." MSNBC

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry Says Donald Trump ‘Does Not Represent The Republican Party’
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry swung back Sunday at GOP presidential nomination rival Donald Trump, saying that the billionaire businessman is unaware of Texas’s record on immigration and “does not represent the Republican Party.” “I don’t think he understands the challenge, obviously,” Mr. Perry said on ABC’s “This Week.”
“When it became abundantly clear that the president wasn’t going to deal with this issue, we acted last summer, we surged our law enforcement and our National Guard,” Mr. Perry said. “We had a 74 percent decrease of apprehensions in that region of the border where the real challenges were.” Washington Times
VOA VIEW: It's not wise for Republicans to attack Trump.

Bernie Sanders Calls Hillary Clinton ‘The Candidate Of The Democratic Establishment’
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sunday he is not surprised by the lack of support from other members of Congress for his presidential bid because former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is “the candidate of the Democratic establishment.” “I think we will get some endorsements, but I think it’s very clear to say that Secretary Clinton is the candidate of most of the members of Congress, is the candidate of the Democratic establishment,” Mr. Sanders said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Mr. Sanders, who is challenging Mrs. Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, added that many voters want a candidate willing to challenge the establishment. Washington Times


China Rolls Out Emergency Measures To Prevent Stock Market Crash
China's stock markets face a make-or-break week after officials rolled out an unprecedented series of steps at the weekend to prevent a full-blown stock market crash that would threaten the world's second-largest economy. The government is anxiously awaiting the market opening on Monday to see if the new measures will halt a 30 percent plunge in the last three weeks, or if panicky investors who borrowed heavily to speculate on stocks will continue to sell. In an extraordinary weekend of policy moves, brokerages and fund managers vowed to buy massive amounts of stocks, helped by China's state-backed margin finance company which in turn would be aided by a direct line of liquidity from the central bank. Reuters

Santorum Praises Trump's Focus On Immigration
Rick Santorum said he didn't like Donald Trump's "verbiage" when he called Mexican immigrants "rapists" in his presidential announcement speech, but said he was raising an important point by bringing up the effect that illegal immigration has on American workers. "While I don't like the verbiage he's used, I like the fact that he is focused on a very important issue for American workers and particularly, legal immigrants in this country," Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator and presidential candidate said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday. CBS
VOA VIEW: Very well put by Santorum.

U.S. Coalition Hammers De Facto ISIS Capital Raqqa
U.S.-led coalition aircraft unleashed a series of airstrikes targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) stronghold of Raqqa in eastern Syria, killing at least 10 militants and wounding many others, the coalition and the group said Sunday. At least 16 airstrikes were reported late Saturday and early Sunday, triggering successive explosions that shook the city and created panic among residents, activists said. The U.S.-led coalition often targets ISIS-held towns and cities in Syria, but the overnight strikes on Raqqa were rare in their intensity. CBS

Corker Warns Kerry Against Rush To Finish Nuclear Deal With Iran
The U.S. shouldn’t rush to finish a nuclear deal with Iran simply to meet a deadline that would allow a shorter congressional review period, said Senator Bob Corker, chairman of a committee that will be pivotal in deciding an agreement’s fate in Congress. Six world powers and Iran have been in talks since late June, attempting to complete a deal that would ease economic sanctions while allowing Iran to pursue limited nuclear activities with intrusive international monitoring. Corker, a Tennessee Republican who leads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the talks have been “going on a negative trend for some time.” Bloomberg


Mike Huckabee: 'Redefinition Of Love' Threatens Marriage
Mike Huckabee says marriage is "in trouble today" because of the "redefinition of love" -- no matter who's in the relationship. And, the former Arkansas governor said Sunday, that's a problem "in every definition of marriage -- be it heterosexual or homosexual or polygamy or wherever the marriage redefinition ends up taking us over the course of the next few years." In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union," Huckabee complained that marriage is under assault from people who don't understand the commitment it entails. Asked whether same-sex marriage or high divorce rates are a bigger threat to the institution, Huckabee responded that the question was like asking which wing of an airplane is more important. CNN

New Horizons Space Probe Suffers Glitch On Approach To Pluto
NASA scientists were working on Sunday to revive the New Horizons spacecraft after it suffered a computer malfunction just nine days before it was due to fly past Pluto. The probe has been barreling toward the dwarf planet and its primary moon, Charon, since January 2006. On Saturday, an unknown glitch caused New Horizons to switch to a backup computer, which triggered an 81-minute break in radio communications with mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, NASA said in a status report. Phildelphia Inquirer

Bernie Sanders Will Raise Taxes If He’s Elected President
Sen. Bernie Sanders made clear Sunday he’ll raise taxes if elected president. “Yes, we have to raise individual tax rates substantially higher than they are today, because almost all of the new income is going to the top 1 percent,” the Vermont Independent said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” The self-described socialist has drawn crowds — 10,000 strong in Wisconsin and more than 2,500 in Iowa — for his take-down-Wall-Street message as he campaigns for the Democratic nomination for president. Wall Street speculators, off-shore corporate earnings and major financial institutions would all be on the target list, Sanders said. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has also campaigned on a progressive platform to improve the income gap between the rich and poor, but Sanders supporters have doubted her willingness to take on Wall Street given her ties to the financial sector. NY Post
VOA VIEW: Sanders is nuts.

Afghans Protest Court Ruling In Mob Killing Of Woman
Dozens of Afghans have rallied to denounce last week's court ruling that overturned the death sentences for four men convicted for taking part in the mob killing of a woman outside a Kabul shrine in March. The protesters, mostly members of the Solidarity Party of Afghanistan and women activists, staged Monday's protest outside of the same shrine where Farkhunda Malikzada was killed by mob. Many carried posters of the slain woman and shouted, "We want justice!" One of the participants, activist Malalai Joya, said the court decision paves way for the killers to "go free tomorrow and they are all criminals." Tampa Tribune

Cruz Presidential Campaign Says Supporters Donated $51 Million
Republican Senator Ted Cruz and the outside groups supporting his presidential bid have raised more than $51 million in the three months since he launched his campaign for president, according to a statement from his campaign on Sunday. Cruz, who announced his candidacy on March 23 in a speech at the conservative school Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, has raised far less in donations directly to his campaign than his supporters have collected for the four outside spending groups supporting him. The statement said there were 175,000 individual donations to the campaign with an average contribution of $81. About $10 million came in during the second quarter of the year. Reuters

When It Comes To Protecting Your Data, Some States Just Don't Get It
When it comes to privacy, not all states are alike. This was confirmed yet again last week in the "50 State Compendium of Unclaimed Property Practices" we compiled. The compendium ranks the amount of personal data state treasuries expose during the process by which individuals can claim and collect unclaimed funds. The data exposed can provide fraudsters with a crime exacta: claiming money that no one will ever miss and gathering various nuggets of personal data that can help facilitate other types of identity theft. The takeaway: Some states provide way too much information to anyone who is in the business of exploiting consumer information. For those who take their privacy seriously, the baseline of our compendium — inclusion in a list of people with unclaimed funds or property — may in itself be unacceptable. ABC

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Greece’s Flamboyant Finance Minister Goes Out In His Typical Combative Way
Combative Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis left his government post Monday in his trademark way — by sparing no words hitting back at the euro zone governments he accuses of trying to break the back of his economically-embattled country. In a blog post more akin to a war cry, Varoufakis, a 54-year-old Greek-Australian economist, said Sunday’s referendum will go down in history as the time when a “small European nation rose up against debt-bondage.” He acknowledged the little-disguised fact that euro zone finance ministers wanted him out of any future discussions on Greece’s future in the euro, and said he was leaving his post to help Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Washington Post

Hard-Hit Gaza Neighborhood Still Trying To Recover From War
After weeks of sharing cramped quarters with relatives during last year's war between Hamas and Israel, 39-year-old Mohammed al-Selek thought nothing of it when he heard the incoming roar of two mortar shells. But once a suffocating cloud of acrid smoke filled the stairwell, his heart sank — the family's home had been struck by Israeli fire. Moments before, he had been enjoying a rare break, relaxing with a cup of tea and cookies as he marked the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The house was filled with his children, nieces and nephews, and al-Selek's father had taken the restless kids to play up on the rooftop, where the family kept rabbits and chickens. After the explosion, al-Selek and his wife ran up the five flights of stairs to the roof and found a sight he still struggles to comprehend. Houston Chronicle

South Carolina Lawmakers Return For Confederate Flag Debate
While it appears there is broad support in the South Carolina Legislature to bring down the Confederate flag, the depth of that support will get its first test this week as lawmakers return to Columbia to come up with a specific plan. The General Assembly returns Monday to discuss Gov. Nikki Haley's budget vetoes and what to do with the rebel flag that has flown over some part of the Statehouse for more than 50 years. Several bills have been filed, but details like when to bring down the flag that currently flies on a pole by a monument to Confederate soldiers in front of the state Capitol, whether to put another flag in its place and what kind of ceremony should mark the removal aren't specified. Houston Chronicle

Firefighter Suspended After Flying Confederate Flag In Parade
A southern Minnesota volunteer firefighter has been suspended after flying the Confederate battle flag from a fire truck in an Independence Day weekend parade.
According to WCCO-TV, Brian Nielsen, 43, displayed the flag, along with an American flag, on the back of a Hartland Fire Department truck during the parade in Albert Lea on Friday. The department's chief, Trent Wangen, suspended Nielsen after the department started to receive negative attention, the station said. Nielsen told WCCO that he is sorry for hurting the city and will resign if asked. "It was my decision and I didn't think it was going to be a big deal, but boy was I wrong," Nielsen told The Associated Press. Atlanta Journal
VOA VIEW: All the negativity will inspire people to display the flag more than ever.

Women's World Cup: U.S. Wants Its Trophy Back From Japan
It's not about revenge, Abby Wambach says. Sure, the United States' loss in penalty kicks to Japan in the 2011 Women's World Cup final stings to this day. The United States had that game won but coughed up two leads, the second time on a goal just three minutes from what would have been the end of extra time. Then the penalty kick shootout was a disaster. The Americans missed their first three attempts. But the all-time leading scorer in international soccer said Friday her team isn't focused on payback, but on the trophy, something the United States hasn't won since 1999. "Heartbreak never goes away but now we have an opportunity, and it's not about revenge or avenging that loss because this team is different," said Wambach, who is in her final World Cup. "I feel an air of confidence (for the World Cup final)." CNN

Sen. Tom Cotton: Military Strikes Must 'Remain An Option' Over Iran Nuclear Program
As the deadline to reach a final agreement with Iran over its nuclear program rapidly approaches, Sen. Tom Cotton said the threat of military action should "remain an option" to ensure a strong deal. "It's never the preferred choice, but military force does have to remain an option if our diplomacy is going to be credible," Cotton, R-Ark., told ABC's George Stephanopoulos today on "This Week." "All of our allies in the region wish we would take a more forceful position and keep that military option on the table because it would result in a better deal." The freshman senator is one of the most vocal opponents of the current state of negotiations. He cast the lone dissenting vote against a bipartisan Senate bill in May that granted a 30-day Congressional review period for any deal, saying the bill would not limit President Obama enough. ABC


Christie Vows To Tackle Thorny Entitlement Reform, Accuses Paul Of 'Politicizing' National Security
Republican presidential candidate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Sunday downplayed his so-so poll numbers, arguing that 2016 presidential campaigns are just beginning and that he has no fear about tackling entitlement reform. Christie told “Fox News Sunday” that 71 percent of federal spending now goes to debt service and entitlement programs, which include Social Security and Medicaid. “We need to reform these programs, and we can do it in a way that's not going to throw anybody off the cliff,” he said in an interviewed that was taped last week and aired Sunday. “I've put that plan forward, and I'm going to keep talking about it. It's the third rail of American politics. They say don't touch it. I'm going to hug it.” Fox News

Kerry: Reaching Final Iran Nuclear Deal 'Could Go Either Way,' As Deadline Nears
Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that the U.S. and Iran are closer to reaching a final nuclear deal but expressed uncertainty about hitting their 48-hour deadline, saying negotiations “could go either way.” Kerry made his comments during a break in one-on-one talks in Vienna with Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Zarif said Saturday that he and Kerry’s teams made significant headway by reaching a tentative agreement on some sanctions now being imposed on Iran for its nuclear program. However, the deal must be approved by diplomats from the five other world powers involved in the talks, who are returning to Vienna on Sunday. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Kerry and Obama are weak.

Greece ‘No’ Vote To Spark Haven Rush As Euro Slips With Aussie
The first shock waves from Greek voters’ rejection of austerity were felt in the currency markets, with the euro down against major peers and Australia’s dollar sliding to a six-year low. Analysts are tipping a flight to safety, with Treasuries and German bunds to benefit. The euro lost 1 percent to $1.1002 by 6:09 a.m. Sydney time, touching its weakest level since June 29. The currency slipped 1.7 percent against the yen and 0.9 percent versus the pound. The Aussie fell as much as 0.9 percent to 74.52 U.S. cents, the first time it’s broken 75 cents since 2009, as the referendum result dimmed the appeal of higher-yielding assets. The kiwi slipped 0.6 percent, even with China stepping up efforts to arrest a stock-market selloff at the weekend. Bloomberg

Global Markets Sink After Greece Vote
Global markets deepened losses Monday after voters in Greece rejected austerity plans demanded by international creditors, casting doubt on the country's future in the euro zone. Benchmarks in Asia and Europe fell sharply and U.S. stock futures also declined. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index dropped 2.1% to close at 20,112.12. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 3.2% to close at 25,236.28. Chinese shares bucked the trend after regulators and the securities industry intervened to prop up the markets. The Shanghai composite index gained almost 6% after the market opened, later closing 2.4% higher at 3,775.91. USA Today

U.S. Defends Slow Approach To Retaking Ramadi
The U.S. military is defending Iraq's slow approach to retaking Ramadi, a key Sunni city seized by the Islamic State six weeks ago, saying careful planning and coordination is needed to ensure a decisive win. "I think they are appropriately cautious about assembling and preparing the right force to make it happen," Marine Col. John McDonough, commander of a coalition task force in Anbar province, said in a telephone interview from western Iraq. Critics have expressed concern about Iraqi security forces who largely abandoned Ramadi without a fight on May 17. "It looks to me like everything is just in paralysis," said Michael O'Hanlon, an analyst at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. USA Today

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On His Native Turf, Pope Francis Touches On Cherished Issues
History's first Latin American pope returns to Spanish-speaking South America for the first time on Sunday, bringing a message of solidarity with the region's poor, who are expected to turn out in droves to welcome their native son home. "The pope of the poor" chose to visit Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay specifically because they are among the poorest and most marginal nations of a region that claims 40 percent of the world's Catholics. He's skipping his homeland of Argentina, at least partly to avoid papal entanglement in this year's presidential election. The trip starts in Ecuador, where falling world prices for oil and minerals threaten to fray the social safety net woven by President Rafael Correa, who has been buffeted for nearly a month by the most serious anti-government street protests of his more than eight years in power. Las Vegas Sun

World Heritage Status For The Alamo, Japan Industrial Sites
The United States has succeeded in its bid to "Remember the Alamo," after the U.N. cultural body approved its status as a world heritage site Sunday. The Alamo was one of five Spanish Roman Catholic sites, known as the San Antonio Missions, to receive the coveted label likely to boost tourism. UNESCO's World Heritage Committee approved the Missions' status along with more than a dozen others from around the globe, including the Gunkanjima industrial site off Japan that South Korea had long objected to. Susan Snow, an archaeologist for San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, said the site in Texas represents "the very essence of the great melting pot of the United States." Las Vegas Sun

Pet Food Maker Stella & Chewy's Recalls Some Products
Pet food maker Stella and Chewy's is recalling some of its products because a routine test found Listeria in a sample of its chicken freeze-dried dinner patties for dogs.
Listeria can cause serious illness and even death in children, the frail and the elderly. Healthy people may suffer flu-like symptoms, such as high fever, headache, nausea and diarrhea. The Milwaukee-based... Newsday

Russian Resupply Spacecraft Docks Onto ISS To Deliver Needed Provisions
The Russian Progress 60 spacecraft docked onto the International Space Station on Sunday to deliver the station's crew much-needed supplies. The unmanned cargo craft docked onto the ISS's Pirs Docking Compartment, where it will remain for the next four months. The crew reported it "feels like Christmas in July." "The craft is delivering more than three tons of food, fuel and supplies, including 1,940 pounds of propellant, 106 pounds of oxygen, 926 pounds of water, and 3,133 pounds of spare parts, supplies and experiment hardware for the members of the Expedition 44 crew currently living and working in space," NASA said in a statement. The crew is taking part of an experiment to determine the effect of the conditions of living in outer space on the human body for one year. UPI

Prison Escapee David Sweat Returned To Maximum Security Prison
Convicted murderer David Sweat has been returned to a maximum-security prison on Sunday after recovering from gunshot wounds at a hospital. Sweat, 35, was captured when he was shot twice in the torso by a state trooper on June 28 after a threatening and daring 23-day prison break from Clinton Correctional Facility. Richard Matt, 48, his accomplice in the escape, was shot and killed two days before Sweat's capture. "David Sweat was released from Albany Medical center at 3:05 a.m. and is now incarcerated at the maximum-security Five Points Correctional Facility in Romulus, N.Y.," New York State Corrections and Community said in a statement, adding that details of his transportation would not be released for security reasons. UPI

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PA Warns Hamas: Don't Carry Out Terror Attacks On Palestinian Security Forces In West Bank
The Palestinian Authority on Sunday warned Hamas against launching terrorist attacks against members of the PA security forces in the West Bank. The warning came in response to threats made by Hamas leaders over the past few days. The threats came in response to the arrest of more than 120 Hamas men by various branches of the PA security forces in the West Bank in the past four days. The PA has justified the crackdown on Hamas supporters by accusing the Islamist movement of working to undermine stability and stir chaos. The clampdown is the biggest against Hamas in recent years. Jerusalem Post

Rivlin Tells Arab Journalists: We Must Be Israelis Not Jews Or Arabs
President Reuven Rivlin on Monday night hosted Arab notables at an Iftar dinner at his official residence.  In addition to Members of Knesset and mayors of Arab towns and villages, guests included Kadi Daoud Zini, chairman of the Sharia Court of Appeal and Abbas Ghanaym, chairman of the higher Arab monitoring committee.
Prior to the dinner Rivlin held a briefing in Hebrew with journalists who report for the Arab language media. He told both the journalists and the Iftar guests that Ramadan is based on the values of compassion mercy and grace but that there are those who seek to exploit and distort the sanctity of Ramadan and engage in murderous terrorism. Rivlin said that he joined in the concern of countries in the region about the increase in terrorism and sent his condolences to the President and people of Egypt following the horrific terrorist attack in Sinai. Jerusalem Post

Hillary Clinton Accuses China Of 'Stealing US Secrets'
US officials had named China as the chief suspect in the massive hack of the records of a US government agency earlier this year. China had denied any involvement, and called US claims "irresponsible". Speaking at a campaign event in New Hampshire, Ms Clinton said that China was stealing secrets from defence contractors and had taken "huge amounts of government information, all looking for an advantage." She added that she wanted to see China's peaceful rise but that the US needed to stay "fully vigilant". BBC

Boko Haram Attack Caps Week Of Bloodshed In Nigeria
A suicide bomber has attacked a church in Nigeria, capping a week in which more than 200 people died in Boko Haram violence. At least five worshippers were killed in Sunday's attack as they were entering the church in Potiskum in the north-east of the country. The Islamist extremists of Boko Haram have carried out a six-year campaign of violence in Nigeria's northeast. The recent attacks have brought condemnation from Nigeria's president. Muhammadu Buhari, speaking on Friday, described as a "heinous atrocity" the latest wave of violence. BBC

Rick Santorum: US Is 'Moral Leader Of World' In Fight Against Gay Marriage
Rick Santorum said on Sunday he would continue his campaign to reverse the supreme court decision that legalised same-sex marriage, because the US “is still the moral leader of the world”. On 26 June, the court voted 5-4 in favor of the plaintiff in the case Obergefell v Hodges, who sought to extend rights conferred by a same-sex marriage in one state to another which did not allow it. Since then, conservative opposition has included calls for a constitutional amendment on marriage, advocacy for laws to ensure religious liberty, and official approval of county clerks who refuse to issue licenses for same-sex marriages. Guardian

'This Country's Bankrupt': Supporters Keep Donald Trump In Business
The controversial billionaire’s rise in polls regarding the Republican field has been met by the chattering classes with a sense of shock and disgust. Trump has been tabloid fodder for decades, for a colorful personal life, a propensity for outlandish statements and, of course, his hair. But as Republican candidates back away from him over his remarks about Mexico and immigrants, and corporate partners cut business ties, Trump has rocketed in the polls. The very qualities that earn the former host of The Celebrity Apprentice the scorn of media and political elites cause many everyday voters to embrace him. Guardian

Gay Marriage Opponents Refuse To Give Up Fight
Legislators in some states are drawing up proposals to weaken the ruling, while elsewhere gay marriage opponents are creating administrative roadblocks to try to prevent same-sex weddings taking place. Staff at a county clerk’s office in Tennessee have resigned their positions rather than issue marriage licences to same-sex couples, saying it conflicts with their religious beliefs. The gesture, which is supported by the Decatur County Commissioner, has attracted widespread publicity in the US and could be a template for similar moves across the country. Telegraph

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