News and Headlines. 7/25/2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — “In high drama at the Capitol, Sen. John McCain on Tuesday delivered a crucial vote in the Republican drive to dismantle the health care law, a win for President Donald Trump and GOP leaders, and then leveled a broadside at how the GOP got there.

As the 80-year-old McCain entered the chamber, Republicans and Democrats applauded and whooped, with a few hugs for the six-term Arizona lawmaker who is battling brain cancer. “Aye,” he said for the GOP vote to move ahead on debate.

After he voted, McCain stood at his seat and accepted hugs and handshakes from all senators in both parties, drawing laughter from the gallery when he and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders exchanged an awkward hug.

McCain then spoke on the Senate floor, his face pale, cheek bruised and a visible red scar and stitches above his left eye where doctors had removed a blood clot. His voice strong, he offered a bit of self-deprecation before launching into an impassioned speech, saying he was “looking a little worse for wear.”

He bemoaned the lack of legislative action in Congress, the GOP’s secretive process in working on repealing and replacing Obamacare and a plea for Democrats and Republicans to work together.” More here.> Cheers, whoops for McCain’s return, then impassioned speech

In the News:

Pence breaks tie as Senate votes to advance GOP healthcare reform

GRAND RAPIDS — “Christian Hilman, 19, of Ada was sentenced to 22½-100 years in prison Monday on a charge of second-degree murder in the road rage beating death of a 64-year-old retiree in a church parking lot.

Hillman’s defense team called the incident a tragedy, but said the teen was assaulted and, overcome with emotion, beat William McFarlan along Whitneyville Avenue SE.

Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Blair Lachman said he said the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter was inappropriate given the overwhelming evidence against Hillman, including eyewitness accounts that he kicked McFarlan several times after McFarlan collapsed beside his pickup truck.” More here.> West Michigan teen gets up to 100 years in road rage killing

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — “A Kansas man who tried to set off what he thought was a bomb at an Army post to support the Islamic State group was sentenced Monday to 30 years in federal prison.

John T. Booker Jr., 22, of Topeka, was arrested in April 2015 outside Fort Riley, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) west of Topeka, as he tried to arm what he thought was a bomb. When he pleaded guilty in February, he acknowledged that he wanted to kill Americans and participate in jihad to support the Islamic State group.” More here.> Man sentenced to 30 years in Fort Riley bomb plot

“In a July 21 lecture posted on the Davis Masjid YouTube channel, Muslim preacher Ammar Shahin spoke in English and Arabic about how all Muslims, not only Palestinians or Syrians, will be called upon to kill all the Jews on “the last day.”

Egyptian-born American preacher Ammar Shahin gave the sermon at the Islamic Center of Davis California.” More here.> WATCH: CALIFORNIA IMAM CALLS ON ALLAH TO ANNIHILATE JEWS

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — “A former Marine believed so strongly in the war against the Islamic State group that he secretly traveled to Syria, where he was killed this month while fighting for a Kurdish militia group.

David Taylor, a 25-year-old former Florida resident, had kept his plans to join the Kurdish group a secret from his family and only told a high school friend, who he swore to secrecy. Taylor’s father said Tuesday that he didn’t even know of his son’s plans until after he had arrived in Syria last spring and was training with the group known as YPG.” More here.> EX-MARINE KILLED IN SYRIA PASSIONATE ABOUT FIGHT AGAINST IS

SAO JOAQUIM DE BICAS, Brazil (AP) — “At the Word of Faith Fellowship churches in the Brazilian cities of Sao Joaquim de Bicas and Franco da Rocha, the signs of broken families are everywhere: parents separated from their children, siblings who no longer speak, grandparents who wonder if they will ever know their grandchildren.

Over the course of two decades, the U.S.-based mother church took command of both congregations in Brazil, applying a strict interpretation of the Bible and enforcing it through rigorous controls and physical punishment, The Associated Press has found.

Many of the more than three dozen former members interviewed by the AP in Brazil said they live in perpetual fear of retribution. Some have sought psychological help. Others ask themselves how they put up with the abuse for so long.” More here.> AP: BRAZILIANS DETAIL ABUSES BY US CHURCH, SHATTERED LIVES

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona (AP) — “To the strains of “Ave Maria,” more than 1,000 people said goodbye Tuesday to 10 members of an extended family who lost their lives in a flash flood while celebrating a birthday in Arizona.

The 10 white caskets belonging to three generations of a Mexican immigrant family were arranged in two rows facing the altar at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Scottsdale, each one bearing a metal crucifix inside its satin-lined lid.

They died together in mere seconds when a dark torrent of water rushed through a placid swimming hole on July 15, killing a grandmother, aunts and uncles, children and grandchildren.” More here.> 1,000 say goodbye to flash flood victims in 10 white caskets

World News:

WASHINGTON – “A U.S. Navy ship fired on a fast approaching Iranian ship Tuesday in the latest U.S. skirmish with Iranian vessels in the northern Persian Gulf.

The patrol craft USS Thunderbolt fired on an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy vessel in the Gulf at 3 p.m. local time Tuesday, a defense official said, after the Iranian ship sped toward the Thunderbolt and got as close as 150 yards.” More here.> US Navy ship fires warning shots near Iranian ship

Jordan’s military releases footage of 3 U.S. Green Berets killed last November

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – “The United States is making progress in talks with North Korean ally China on imposing new United Nations sanctions on Pyongyang over its latest missile test, but Russia’s engagement will be the “true test,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said on Tuesday.

The United States gave China a draft resolution nearly three weeks ago to impose stronger sanctions on North Korea over the July 4 missile launch. Haley had been aiming for a vote by the 15-member Security Council within weeks, senior diplomats said.

“We’re constantly in touch with China … Things are moving but it’s still too early to tell how far they’ll move,” Haley told reporters, adding that she was pleased with China’s initial response to the U.S. proposal because it showed “seriousness.” More here.> U.S. says progress with China on N.Korea U.N. sanctions, true test is Russia

SEOUL, South Korea, July 25 (UPI) — “Russia’s deputy nuclear negotiator has visited North Korea to discuss issues on the divided peninsula with the North’s senior diplomats, Pyongyang’s state media said Tuesday.

Oleg Burmistrov, Russia’s ambassador-at-large, met with North Korea’s vice foreign minister Sin Hong-chol and also talked with a director in charge of North America affairs, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

Burmistrov is known to also serve as Moscow’s deputy negotiator to the now-stalled six-party denuclearization talks involving South and North Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia. He arrived in Pyongyang on Saturday for a four-day stay.” More here.> Russia’s deputy nuclear negotiator visits North Korea


Check This Out:

NEW YORK (Reuters) – “A toilet paper wedding dress with 1,500 hand-cut butterflies made by a mother of two in her spare time won the $10,000 first prize in a quirky New York fashion competition on Thursday and a bride-in-need may have the chance to wear it down the aisle.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, which exhibits winning entries every year, is donating about 20 of the top gowns to brides whose plans were shattered by the sudden bankruptcy of wedding dressmaker Alfred Angelo last week.” Video and Article here.> Winning toilet paper gowns offered to brides-in-need

Commentary / Opinion:

“Intellectual elites argue that different cultures and their values are morally equivalent. That’s ludicrous. Western culture and values are superior to all others. I have a few questions for those who’d claim that such a statement is untrue or smacks of racism and Eurocentrism. Is forcible female genital mutilation, as practiced in nearly 30 sub-Saharan African and Middle Eastern countries, a morally equivalent cultural value? Slavery is practiced in Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Sudan; is it morally equivalent? In most of the Middle East, there are numerous limitations placed on women, such as prohibitions on driving, employment and education. Under Islamic law, in some countries, female adulterers face death by stoning. Thieves face the punishment of having their hands severed. Homosexuality is a crime punishable by death in some countries. Are these cultural values morally equivalent, superior or inferior to Western values?” More here.> Western values are superior

“Democrats have had a full eight months to digest their humiliating 2016 electoral defeat.  Eight months to write a post mortem. Eight months to develop a new platform. Eight months to show the American people they deserve a chance to govern.

But instead of self-critique, introspection and innovative solutions, Democrats have offered excuses, complaining and Russian collusion conspiracy theories.  In an effort to engender enthusiasm for 2018, Democrats unleashed a “new” agenda on Monday, which amounted to little more than a stale attempt at mimicking President Donald Trump.  

The name alone suggests the new Democratic plan is the work of a fledgling party, lacking in creativity and effort. “A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future” sounds a whole lot like the 2016 Republican plan entitled “A Better Way.” A look at the details proves no more inspiring than the name.” More here.> OPINION | Dems’ ‘new’ agenda? A recycled copy of Trump’s playbook