CALIFORNIA EARTHQUAKE-THE LATEST
The Latest: Earthquake agency head calls event wakeup call
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The head of California’s Earthquake Authority says the quake that hit the state on Thursday is “an important reminder that all of California is earthquake country.”
Glenn Pomeroy says the magnitude 6.4 earthquake that hit Southern California shows why people in the state must be prepared for such events.
Pomeroy says: “It’s important to know what to do to stay safe when the ground starts shaking_drop, cover and hold on!_and to take other steps to prepare to survive and recover from damaging earthquakes, such as to retrofit homes built prior to 1980 and the advent of modern building codes, which may be more vulnerable to earthquake damage, and consider earthquake insurance to protect ourselves financially.”
Pomeroy urged the estimated 2,000 people in the region hit by the quake with California Earthquake Authority insurance policies to contact the agency as soon as possible. He says information on how to file a CEA policy claim is on the agency’s website: EarthquakeAuthority.com.
IMMIGRATION-TEEN MOMS-THE LATEST
The Latest: Police cite after blocking July 4th parade
PHOENIX (AP) — Several dozen members of a group protesting treatment of migrants and asylum seekers have been cited after briefly interrupting a Fourth of July parade in Philadelphia.
Police say about 300 people had marched to the Independence Mall area Thursday, within sight of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, after demonstrating outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency headquarters.
Police said some members of the group briefly interrupted the Salute to America parade and 33 were detained and cited. Police said there were no injuries or property damage.
The protesters assembled by a group calling itself “Never Again is Now” were demanding closure of border detention centers and abolition of the ICE agency. Organizer Sarah Giskin said they want “safe and ethical solutions” allowing people to stay here and remain with their families.
TRUMP-FOURTH OF JULY-THE LATEST
The Latest: Trump asks Americans to ‘stay true to our cause’
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump celebrated the story of America as “the greatest political journey in human history” in a Fourth of July commemoration before a soggy but cheering crowd of spectators on the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial.
Supporters welcomed his tribute to the U.S. military while protesters assailed him for putting himself center stage on a holiday devoted to unity.
Trump called on Americans to “stay true to our cause” during a program that adhered to patriotic themes and hailed an eclectic mix of history’s heroes, from the armed forces, space, civil rights and other endeavors of American life.
He largely stuck to his script, avoiding diversions into his agenda or re-election campaign.
Envoy says Sudan rivals reach power-sharing agreement
KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — An African Union envoy says Sudan’s ruling military council and the country’s pro-democracy movement have reached a power-sharing agreement, including a timetable for a transition to civilian rule.
Mohammed el-Hassan Labat said early Friday that both sides agreed to form a joint sovereign council that will rule the country for “three years or a little more.” The sides agreed to five seats for the military and five for civilians with an additional seat going to a civilian with military background.
The emerging deal could break weeks of political impasse since the military ousted autocratic President Omar al-Bashir in April.
Talks on a power-sharing agreement had collapsed when security forces razed a protest camp in Khartoum on June 3. Negotiations resumed earlier this week, after massive protests last weekend.
GEORGE WASHINGTON MURAL
San Francisco to paint over debated George Washington mural
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The San Francisco Board of Education will spend up to $600,000 to eliminate historical artwork depicting the life of George Washington.
An 83-year-old mural at George Washington High School has been criticized as racist and degrading for its depiction of black and Native American people. When the mural was created, many considered the work radical for showing unsavory aspects of American history, such as slavery.
School Board member Mark Sanchez voted to paint over the mural, saying it’s unfair for students to see harmful images.
Critics worry the move censors a critical portrayal of history and that other New Deal-era artwork could face a similar fate.
Painting over the mural won’t happen until at least fall and could be further delayed by a lawsuit.
Best way to fight climate change? Plant a trillion trees
WASHINGTON (AP) — A study says the best way to fight global warming is to plant a trillion trees — maybe more.
Swiss scientists calculate that there’s enough space to plant trees to cover 3.5 million square miles. That’s roughly the size of the United States
The study says those new trees could suck up about as much carbon pollution as humans have spewed in the past 25 years.
Study author Thomas Crowther says this is the cheapest and best climate change solution. But trees are no substitute for cutting emission from burning oil, gas and coal.
The study is in Thursday’s journal Science.
The Latest: Group says 54 migrants rescued north of Libya
CAIRO (AP) — An Italian humanitarian group says its boat rescued 54 migrants north of Libya, where an airstrike on a detention center killed at least 44 migrants this week.
Beppe Caccia, a coordinator for Mediterranea Saving Humans, said the crew of the Alex performed the rescue Thursday after Italian authorities told them to stand down and let the Libyan coast guard handle it.
Groups that operate rescue ships on the Mediterranean Sea say neither the European Union nor the United Nations consider Libya a safe port.
Earlier Thursday, the U.N. migration agency reported that a boat from Libya carrying 86 migrants sank late Wednesday and left only three survivors.
The airstrike on a detention center near Tripoli killed at least 44 other migrants a day earlier.
Caccia said: “We’re happy to have pulled them out of the hell that is Libya.”
HONG KONG-PROTESTS-WHY THEY DID IT
Hong Kong protesters: Desperation led to legislature attack
HONG KONG (AP) — Four protesters who took part in the storming of Hong Kong’s legislature on Monday have spoken to The Associated Press, explaining why they felt compelled to do so despite the risks.
Hundreds of protesters wreaked havoc inside the government complex in scenes that shocked the world. It drew swift condemnation from officials in Hong Kong, Beijing and elsewhere.
The protesters, all in their teens and twenties, said they concluded that peaceful demonstrations were pointless after the failure of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Umbrella Movement in 2014.
They said the refusal of city leaders to listen to their demands and several deaths of protesters drove them to desperation.
The protesters said they took pains to avoid damaging historic relics during the sacking, targeting security systems they said threatened their safety.
Florida’s most famous cheerleader, Mr. Two Bits, dies at 97
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The University of Florida’s most famous cheerleader has died.
The school announced George Edmondson Jr.’s death on Thursday, two days after his passing. Edmondson was better known as Mr. Two Bits while riling up crowds at Florida home games for 60 years.
Edmondson first performed his “Two Bits” cheer in 1949. He was in the stands at Florida Field when fans booed the Gators as they took the field for the season opener against the Citadel. An insurance agent from Tampa, Edmondson decided to cheer and encouraged others to join him.
His “Two bits, four bits, six bits a dollar … all for the Gators, stand up and holler!” routine took hold, and he quickly became a well-known figure at games.
He officially retired from his role after the 2008 season. He never attended Florida but was named an honorary alumnus in 2005.
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BC-PERSIAN GULF-TENSIONS-THE LATEST
The Latest: Europe talking with Iran, dispute tool an option
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A European diplomatic official says that talks at all levels with Iran are in progress. But the official says if nothing changes, they could decide to trigger a dispute resolution mechanism in the 2015 nuclear accord that could ultimately result in the re-imposition of sanctions.
The official said on Thursday that talks with Tehran are aimed at de-escalating dangerously rising tensions, and buying time toward unwinding the crisis. The official asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the subject.
The official insisted there’s still room to work to de-escalate even though this week Iran surpassed limits set on stockpiled low-enriched uranium and President Hassan Rouhani said that starting Sunday Iran will start enriching uranium to “any level … we need.”
The official said the dispute resolution mechanism, which entails a progression of talks, could be triggered “maybe sooner, maybe later.” If nothing changes, “I don’t know how we can avoid it.”
–Elaine Ganley in Paris
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