News Briefs

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South Carolina’s Confederate flag is gone, but others remain

An honor guard from the South Carolina Highway patrol removes the Confederate battle flag from the Capitol grounds in Columbia, S.C., ending its 54-year presence there, on Friday, July 10, 2015. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
An honor guard from the South Carolina Highway patrol removes the Confederate battle flag from the Capitol grounds in Columbia, S.C., ending its 54-year presence there, on Friday, July 10, 2015. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

The Confederate battle flag no longer flies at South Carolina’s Statehouse, now relegated to a room filled with other relics of the state’s secession. Other vestiges of the Civil War-era South are unlikely to vanish so soon. Thousands of people have rallied in central Florida in support of flying the Confederate flag.

In South Carolina, Gov. Nikki Haley made it a priority for lawmakers to pass legislation to take the flag down, reversing course from her 2014 campaign trail dismissal of Democratic challenger Vincent Sheheen’s call for its removal as a campaign stunt. Lawmakers are debating a measure to block the display of the flag at federal cemeteries in Congress.

 

Iraq begins operation to oust Islamic State group

A man inspects the scene of an explosion in a busy commercial area in Baghdad, Iraq Monday, July 13, 2015. A string of car bombs and explosive belts attacks across Baghdad killed and wounded dozens of people on Sunday, Iraqi officials said. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
A man inspects the scene of an explosion in a busy commercial area in Baghdad, Iraq Monday, July 13, 2015. A string of car bombs and explosive belts attacks across Baghdad killed and wounded dozens of people on Sunday, Iraqi officials said. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

The Iraqi government began a long-awaited large-scale military operation on July 13 to dislodge Islamic State militants from Iraq’s western Anbar province, a military spokesman announced.

A string of car bombs and explosive belts attacks across Baghdad killed and wounded dozens of people on July 12, Iraqi officials said.

In a brief statement, Iraq’s Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, vowed to “take revenge from Daesh criminals on the battlefield… and their cowardly crimes against unarmed civilians will only increase our determination to chase them and to expel them from the land of Iraq.”Iraq is going through its worst crisis since the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. troops.

 

Escape by top drug lord a blow to Mexico’s government

Mexican federal police guard near the Altiplano maximum security prison in Almoloya, west of Mexico City, Sunday, July 12, 2015. Mexico's most powerful drug lord, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, escaped from a maximum security prison through a tunnel that opened into the shower area of his cell, the country's top security official announced. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
Mexican federal police guard near the Altiplano maximum security prison in Almoloya, west of Mexico City, Sunday, July 12, 2015. Mexico’s most powerful drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, escaped from a maximum security prison through a tunnel that opened into the shower area of his cell, the country’s top security official announced. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

The escape of drug lord Joaquin Guzman on Jully 12 undermined Mexico’s assertion it can deal with top drug lords at home and doesn’t need to extradite them to the U.S. The national pride that appeared to motivate Pena Nieto’s administration to prosecute drug lords like Guzman through its own court system has now turned into a national embarrassment. The escape route apparently was built over the last year right under authorities’ noses into a supposedly escape-proof lockup.

Raul Benitez, a security expert at Mexico’s National Autonomous University, said Guzman’s second escape is even worse for Pena Nieto than if he had never captured him. “In the context of the drug war it is the president’s worst failure,” Benitez said.

 

Mormon leader Boyd K. Packer remembered for humor and wit

Pallbearers carry the casket of Mormon leader Boyd K. Packer during a memorial service at the Tabernacle, on Temple Square Friday, July 10, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Packer's death on July 3 at the age of 90 from natural causes left the religion with two openings on a high-level governing body called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Pallbearers carry the casket of Mormon leader Boyd K. Packer during a memorial service at the Tabernacle, on Temple Square Friday, July 10, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Packer’s death on July 3 at the age of 90 from natural causes left the religion with two openings on a high-level governing body called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

President Boyd K. Packer was remembered July 10 at his funeral as an unwavering defender and teacher of church gospel, but also for his quick wit and humor.

Church president Thomas S. Monson told the thousands of mourners in attendance that Packer had a gift to boil down complex gospel concepts into words easily understood by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “He was inspired and talented as a teacher,” Monson said. “He taught with power and with authority.”

 

Obama says US must care for aging Americans

President Barack Obama speaks during the 2015 White House Conference on Aging, Monday, July 13, 2015, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. The president said a secure retirement is a critical component of what it means to be middle in America. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Barack Obama speaks during the 2015 White House Conference on Aging, Monday, July 13, 2015, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. The president said a secure retirement is a critical component of what it means to be middle class in America. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Barack Obama warned Monday of an increasing urgency for the U.S. to care for older Americans as millions of baby boomers head into their golden years.

At a White House conference on aging, Obama called on the nation to take proactive steps to address rising costs, protect Social Security, train more home health care workers and help seniors remain active contributors to their communities. He said every day, almost 10,000 Americans born in the aftermath of World War II turn 65 years old, creating a heavy load for the organizations and government agencies that help care for the elderly.

 

 

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