Top News Stories for Today – July 5, 2017
US-South Korea hold ballistic missile drill
On Tuesday, North Korea said it has successfully launched an intercontinental ballistic missile, calling it the “final step” in making the country a “confident and powerful nuclear state that can strike anywhere on Earth.” In response, the United States and South Korea conducted a joint ballistic missile drill to demonstrate “precision firing” capabilities, the US Army said in a statement.
US, Japanese, and South Korean officials said the missile was launched at a high trajectory, traveling 580 miles and reaching an altitude of 1,500 miles with a flight time of 40 minutes. Experts said such a missile could be capable of reaching Alaska. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson condemned the launch, and said “global action is required to stop a global threat.” CBS News, The Week
Most GOP senators skip July 4 festivities
Only a handful of Republican senators made public appearances on the Fourth of July, and those who did march in Independence Day parades had opposed the Senate GOP health-care bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who scrapped a planned vote last week after a handful of Republicans threatened to block the bill, had wanted a vote before the break in part so GOP senators would not be swayed by public sentiment against his widely unpopular bill.
Only four of the 52 GOP senators had announced participation in July 4 parades — Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Dean Heller (Nev.), and Ted Cruz (Texas); all four had voiced concern about McConnell’s bill, and all but Murkowski were solid no votes before the break. Collins and Murkowski said people at their parades thanked them for saying no to the proposed legislation. The Washington Post, The New York Times
Kremlin and White House gear up for first face-to-face meeting
The Kremlin said Tuesday that the long-anticipated first meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Trump would take place on Friday on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. The White House says “no specific agenda” has been set for the meeting between the two leaders.
Putin’s foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, did not reveal details as he announced the timing of the meeting, although he previously said Putin and Trump would probably discuss the fight against terrorism and the war in Syria. It is not clear whether Trump plans to raise the issue of Russia’s meddling in last year’s election, although if he doesn’t he could face a backlash from critics for missing a chance to address a critical national security threat. The Associated Press
All new Volvo will be electric or hybrid in 2019
On Wednesday, Chinese-owned Swedish automaker Volvo announced that by 2019, every new model it introduces will have either an electric or a hybrid gas-electric engine, making Volvo the first major automaker to ditch traditional gasoline engines. “This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” said Volvo president Håkan Samuelsson.
The Swedish car company said that it will launch five full electric cars between 2019 and 2021, three of them under the Volvo brand and the other two from its Polestar subsidiary; it will continue selling combustion-engine models introduced before 2019, at least for now. The shift toward electric cars is a priority for Geely, the Chinese company that purchased Volvo in 2010; China currently buys more than half the world’s electric and hybrid cars. Reuters, CNNMoney
China Invites foreign doctors for Liu Xiaobo
The judicial bureau for the northeastern city of Shenyang, where Liu is being treated, said Wednesday the hospital issued the invitation after Liu’s family made the request, and after consulting with the 61-year-old’s medical team. Liu was granted medical parole back in May after he was diagnosed with late-stage kidney cancer. VOA
US laptop ban lifted on Emirates and Turkish Airlines
Emirates has said the cabin ban on laptops no longer applies on its flights to the United States. In March, the US banned laptops and other large electronic devices to and from eight mostly Muslim nations, fearing bombs may be concealed in them. Emirates, which flies to the US from its Dubai hub, said it worked with US authorities to meet new security rules.
Turkish Airlines said it was also now allowing passengers travelling to the US to take their laptops onboard. The two airlines join Etihad, which saw the ban lifted on Sunday for its flights from Abu Dhabi after US authorities found it had put tighter security checks in place. Emirates said in a statement: “Effective immediately, the electronics ban has been lifted for Emirates’ flights from Dubai International Airport to the USA.” BBC
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