(ICE) – ICE and law enforcement partners announce arrests, seizure of $2.3M in synthetic marijuana 

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, DC, office today announced the arrests of two individuals in connection with a seizure of approximately 265 pounds of synthetic drugs with an estimated street value worth $2.3 million in collaboration with the Metropolitan Police Department’s Narcotics and Special Investigations Division. The largest single seizure of synthetic drugs in the district to date contained 19,247 packets of “Bizarro” drugs, which analysis revealed to be XR-11, a schedule 1 controlled substance.

On Monday, MPD detectives with assistance from HSI and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agents arrested Siraj Issa, 33, of Northwest, DC, and Yenework Abera, 41, of Alexandria, Virginia, in Northwest, DC. They have been charged with possession with intent to distribute synthetic cannabinoids.

“Synthetic drugs pose a serious public health and safety issue to our communities,” said Clark Settles, special agent in charge of HSI Washington, DC. “This operation’s success is a testament to the excellent working relationship between our agencies and sends a clear message to anyone involved in illicit drug trade that we are united in our efforts to disrupt and dismantle their operations.”
The drugs were seized Aug. 27, after Maryland State Police encountered the cannabinoid during an enforcement action. The shipment was sent to a D.C. address. HSI’s coordination with MPD and DEA resulted in the two arrests.

“The seizure of such a large amount of synthetic drugs is a relief to both the MPD and the community,” said MPD Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier. “The hard investigative work that our members pride themselves on has potentially saved countless lives and helped to stem the violence that goes hand in hand with the selling and consumption of illegal drugs.”

“Through this extraordinary coordination between DEA, HSI, and MPD, nearly 500 pounds of this lethal drug will never touch the streets of DC,” said Karl C. Colder, special agent in charge of the DEA Washington field division. “Ruthless drug dealers are marketing these drugs as a harmless substance. Make no mistake, synthetic cannabinoids are a poison. DEA stands strong with our partners in combating synthetics, and will use all of our resources to bring traffickers of this drug to justice.”

“The charges filed today reflect our steadfast commitment to dealing with the serious problem of synthetic cannabinoids,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Vincent H. Cohen, Jr. “Whether it has been educating our citizens throughout the District of Columbia about the dangers of synthetic cannabinoids or pursuing local and federal investigations to target the distributors and street sellers of this dangerous drug, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has been aggressively attacking this problem at all fronts. And we will continue to do so to keep our community safe.”

Source: ICE and law enforcement partners announce arrests, seizure of $2.3M in synthetic marijuana | ICE

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(fox news) – Hungary opens main rail station to migrants, but no trains running to Western Europe

Confusion reigned at Budapest’s main railway station Thursday morning after Hungarian police allowed hundreds of migrants to enter the building, but the country’s railway operator said that no direct trains would depart for Western Europe, the intended destination for many refugees. A Reuters photographer estimated that up to 1,000 migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia had poured into the Keleti railway station from the square outside. The photographer also reported that some people had stormed the first trains they could find and were trying to push themselves and their children into the carriages through the doors and windows.
The Associated Press reported that announcements were made over the station loudspeakers in several languages, including English, that the trains were not heading west. Some migrants could be seen getting off the domestic trains, while others remained on the carriages amid the confusion.

Some of the migrants had been forced to sleep in the streets of Budapest for two nights after Hungarian police closed the terminal to them Tuesday. At that time, migrants with valid tickets but no travel documents were prevented from boarding trains to Austria and Germany.

There was no immediate explanation from the police or other authorities about why the migrants were allowed to enter the terminal Thursday. The rail company said its stance was due to “railway transport” security reasons. A Hungarian government spokesman confirmed to Sky News that no international trains would be leaving the station for “safety reasons”.

(reuters) – One killed, nine hurt in helicopter hard landing in North Carolina -report 


One U.S. Marine was killed and nine injured when a helicopter made a hard landing at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, the Associated Press reported on Thursday.

The helicopter landed during a training exercise on Wednesday night, AP said. Those hurt were taken to the hospital, and the landing is being investigated, it reported.

(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales; Editing by Susan Heavey)

Source: One killed, nine hurt in helicopter hard landing in North Carolina -report | Reuters

(fox news) – Dean Jones, boyish Disney star, dies at 84

FILE – In this May 24, 1966 file photo, actor Dean Jones, poses for a photo while on set for the Warner Bros. film, “Any Wednesday,” in New York. Jones, has died of Parkinson’s Disease at age 84. He passed away on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015, in Los Angeles, publicist Richard Hoffman announced on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Dan Grossi, File)

Dean Jones, whose boyish good looks and all-American manner made him Disney’s favorite young actor for such lighthearted films as “That Darn Cat!” and “The Love Bug,” has died of Parkinson’s disease. He was 84.

He died Monday in Los Angeles, Jones’ publicist Richard Hoffman said Wednesday.

Jones’ long association with The Walt Disney Co. began after he received an unexpected call from Walt Disney himself, who praised his work on the TV show “Ensign O’Toole,” noting it had “some good closing sequences.” Jones, himself a former Navy man, played the title role in the 1962 sitcom.

Jones puzzled over Disney’s remark until it occurred to him that “Ensign O’Toole” preceded Disney’s own Sunday night show on NBC, and he realized Disney probably only watched each episode’s ending.

Two years later, Jones heard from Disney again, calling this time to offer him a role in “That Darn Cat!” opposite ingénue Hayley Mills. His FBI agent Zeke Kelso follows a crime-solving cat that leads him to a pair of bank robbers.

Released in 1965, it would the first of 10 Disney films Jones would make, most of them in the supernatural vein.

“I see something in them that is pure form. Just entertainment. No preaching,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “We’re always looking for social significance but maybe people just like to be entertained.”

“The Love Bug” (1969) was the most successful of the genre, with Jones playing a struggling race-driver who acquires a Volkswagen that wins races for him. The Bug, named Herbie, has hidden human traits, and when it feels unappreciated it disappears. Jones must rescue Herbie from the hands of his nefarious rival and issue the car an apology before it wins the big race for him.

After “The Love Bug,” Jones returned to the stage, winning the lead role of Robert in “Company,” Stephen Sondheim’s now-classic musical about marital angst, Manhattan-style. He withdrew from the 1970 production after a short time, citing family problems, but he is heard on the Grammy-winning Broadway cast album.

He had actually started his career as a singer before going on to appear in a string of mostly forgettable films throughout the 1950s. A notable exception was 1957’s “Jailhouse Rock,” one of Elvis Presley’s best-remembered vehicles, in which Jones had a small role as a disc jockey.

In 1960, Jones made his Broadway debut with Jane Fonda in “There Was a Little Girl,” playing Fonda’s boyfriend in a short-lived drama about the rape of a young woman.

He had better luck on Broadway later in 1960, when he appeared in the hit comedy “Under the Yum Yum Tree.” Sparring with Gig Young, who played a comically wolfish character, Jones had “the right blend of sturdiness and lightness,” The New York Times wrote.

He returned to Hollywood to make the film version of “Under the Yum Yum Tree” and to star in television’s “Ensign O’Toole” from 1962 to 1964. He also reteamed with Fonda for the film version of a racy stage comedy, “Any Wednesday.”

It was in Disney’s gentle family comedies, however, that Jones truly hit his stride. Walt Disney himself died in 1966, but the studio and its style of film lived on.

In “Monkeys, Go Home,” Jones tried to teach four monkeys to pick grapes at a French vineyard he inherited. In “Million Dollar Duck,” he was a scientist with a duck that began laying golden eggs after being doused with radiation.

He returned to the Disney studio in 1977 for one more film, “Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo.”

Twenty years later, he had smaller parts in the remake of “That Darn Cat” and the TV version of “The Love Bug.”

He worked regularly into his 70s, appearing often on TV and in films. His later credits included “St. John in Exile,” ”Beethoven” and “Other People’s Money.”

In 1969, he was host of a TV variety show, “What’s It All About, World?” But he said delivering jokes, stand-up comedy style, was not really his forte. “My bag is acting or getting into an amusing situation and then sharing my amusement,” he told the Times. “I can sense a situation or a character much better than I can sense a line.”

Dean Carroll Jones left his hometown of Decatur, Alabama, at 15, supporting himself by picking cotton and cutting timber until he landed a job as a singer in a New Orleans nightclub. When the club closed, he returned to Decatur to finish high school.

After studying voice at Asbury University in Kentucky, he spent four years in the Navy. Soon after his release, he was signed by MGM, and it appeared for a time that he was being groomed as a possible successor to James Dean.

Jones married Mae Entwisle, a onetime Miss San Diego, in 1954, and the couple had two daughters, Carol and Deanna. He and his second wife, Lory, had a son, Michael.

Over the course of his career, he’d appear in 46 films and five Broadway shows. In 1995, Jones was honored by his longtime employers with a spot in the Disney Legends Hall of Fame.

Besides Lory, his wife of 42 years, and his children, Jones is survived by eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Source: Dean Jones, boyish Disney star, dies at 84

(fox news) – Death of U.S. teen in Paraguay first ruled suicide now being investigated as a murder

Obama secures votes to protect Iran nuclear deal – The Washington Post

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) became the 34th senator to support the Iran nuclear agreement, which means President Obama has the votes to sustain his promised veto of any legislation that would attempt to scuttle the deal. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)

President Obama on Wednesday was handed a major foreign policy victory after securing enough votes in the Senate to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, which has come under intense criticism from Republicans and some Democrats.

The agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions, struck by international negotiators in Vienna in July, was the subject of an intense lobbying campaign in recent weeks by both the administration and the deal’s opponents in advance of an expected vote as early as next week on a resolution to block the deal’s implementation.

But Sen. Barbara A, Mikulski (D-Md.) on Wednesday morning said she will back the agreement, making her the 34th senator to pledge support for the Iran deal in the Senate. This means that opponents will not be able to collect the two-thirds supermajority vote needed to override Obama’s promised veto of any legislative attempt to dismantle the nuclear pact.

“No deal is perfect, especially one negotiated with the Iranian regime. I have concluded that this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the best option available to block Iran from having a nuclear bomb,” Mikulski said in a statement explaining why she is backing the deal.

Her support follows weeks of intense lobbying on both sides and serves as a defeat for deal detractors, despite the fact that majorities in both the Republican-led House and Senate will likely vote to oppose the Iran agreement later this month.

Congress secured an unorthodox role for itself in the negotiations earlier this year by passing legislation demanding a chance for lawmakers to review the accord that the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany were negotiating with Iran to rein in Tehran’s nuclear development program. The deal they struck trades promises from Iran to mothball centrifuges, cut enriched-uranium stockpiles and accept tight oversight in exchange for a stage-by-stage lifting of sanctions that have hamstrung the Iranian economy.

[Sign up for The Daily 202, The Washington Post’s new political tipsheet]

Since the deal was reached in July, critics have complained that it doesn’t do enough to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and, at best, only delays its pathway to becoming an armed nuclear state. Even those on the fence have openly worried that Iran might funnel some of the money that gets pumped back into its economy after sanctions are lifted into nefarious activities, including funding groups that pose a direct threat to Israel.

“The only reason the Ayatollah and his henchmen aren’t dancing in the streets of Tehran is they don’t believe in dancing,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who is also running for president, said in a statement following Mikulski’s announcement.

But Obama and his proxies have argued that the deal is the best agreement they could have secured, that there is no alternative to it but war with Iran and that those angling to rip up the current deal and call Iran back to the negotiating table do not have a viable alternative.

So far, Obama’s argument has swayed only Democrats — no Republicans have come out to support the deal. And politically, the splits forming around the agreement in Congress appear to be reflected throughout the country. While polls show that a majority of Americans oppose the deal, a strong majority of Democrats support it and a strong majority of Republicans oppose it.

The Iran deal has become a 2016 campaign issue as well, with candidates going after each other and casting it as an indication of how strongly they support Israel.

In that environment, the prospect of becoming Senator No. 34 — the deal-clinching senator — was daunting for some, with campaign ads all but guaranteed to be rolled out against the lawmaker who took that key spot. Mikulski, however, is retiring at the end of her term next year and does not need to worry about political blowback.

[Who wants to clinch the Iran deal?]

Her vote now potentially clears the way for other undecided senators to support the deal. There are 10 Democrats who remain undeclared — if seven more of those senators vote for the deal, Obama might not need to pick up his veto pen at all. If 41 senators support the agreement, deal backers could successfully filibuster the resolution of disapproval and the pact would stand.

[President Obama’s Iran deal just hit Magic No. 34]

In an effort to gain more support, Secretary of State John F. Kerry sent letters to the Senate and House Wednesday vowing that the Obama administration would strengthen security cooperation with Israel and the nations of the Persian Gulf to cope with the impact of the Iran deal.

In the letter, he promised that Washington would provide both Israel and the Gulf countries with enough aid to counter and protect themselves from Iran’s expansionist ambitions in the region.

Kerry described Israel’s security as “sacrosanct,” and enumerated some of the military aid totaling billions of dollars a year that the United States provides Israel for defense and security. He said the United States and Israel were working on a Memo of Understanding that would “cement for the next decade our unprecedented levels of military assistance.”

Kerry said that Israel will be the only country in the region to get the advanced F-35 fighter aircraft next year. He said the administration is prepared to increase funds to develop newer systems like the Arrow-3 and David’s Sling. He also proposed collaborating with Israel on “tunnel detection and mapping technologies to provide Israel new capabilities to detect and destroy [terrorist] tunnels before they could be used to threaten Israeli civilians.” Kerry said Obama had spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu already about working together to confront conventional and asymmetric threats.

The letter was delivered to Congress as Kerry spoke in Philadelphia in defense of the Iran agreement in a speech that was carried live on Iranian television.

“Rejecting this agreement would not be sending a signal of resolve to Iran, it would be broadcasting a message so puzzling that most people across the globe would find it impossible to comprehend,” Kerry said in his speech at the National Constitution Center.

“It’s hard to conceive of a quicker or more self-destructive blow to our nation’s credibility and leadership,” he added, “not only with respect to this one issue, but across the board, economically, politically, militarily, even morally. We would pay an immeasurable price for this unilateral reversal.”

On Friday, Obama will hold talks in the White House with Saudi King Salman in his first visit to the United States since ascending the throne in January after King Abdullah died.

In Israel, the immediate reaction was muted.

Israeli news media cast Mikulski’s announcement as a clear loss for Netanyahu, who has spent years warning that a nuclear Iran poses an existential threat to Israel and who took the extraordinary step of siding with Republicans and directly confronting the American president in a speech before Congress.

One senior Israeli official close to Netanyahu said, “Whatever is going on in Congress does not change the dangers facing the Middle East from the agreement as it has been currently presented.”

The official said that Israel never said it would win its case, but that it was important to make one.

A second Israel official, who briefed reporters but declined to have his name used, said “a solid majority in Congress and among the American people” agree with Netanyahu’s assertion that the deal is a bad one.

The official said that even if the deal is passed, the strong opposition to the pact will be reflected in U.S. policy toward Iran and the Middle East.

“The prime minister clarified to Congress in March that it was his duty to present Israel’s concerns regarding the deal with Iran to Americans and their representatives,” said the official.

William Booth contributed to this story
Karoun Demirjian covers defense and foreign policy and was previously a correspondent based in the Post’s bureau in Moscow, Russia. Before that, she reported for the Las Vegas Sun as its Washington Correspondent, the Associated Press in Jerusalem, the Chicago Tribune, Congressional Quarterly, and worked at NPR.
Carol Morello is the diplomatic correspondent for The Washington Post, covering the State Department.

Source: Obama secures votes to protect Iran nuclear deal – The Washington Post

(NBC News) – Kentucky Clerk Asks Judge, Again, for a Way Out of Gay-Marriage Order

A Kentucky court clerk is once again asking a federal judge for an order freeing her from the obligation of issuing marriage licenses, a move that would allow her to remain in office while still refusing to acknowledge same-sex unions.

Kim Davis ignited a fierce debate in her office in Rowan County, Kentucky this week when she defied orders to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling declaring the constitutionality of same-sex marriages. Davis, a born-again Apostolic Christian, said issuing the licenses to gay couples would violate “God’s definition of marriage” and would infringe on her religious freedom.

The unorthodox gambit appears to have little chance of succeeding.


Rowan County, Kentucky, Clerk Kim Davis has refused to issue marriage licenses in defiance of a U. S. Supreme Court declaration that gay marriage is constitutional. Timothy D. Easley / AP
Her request was filed Wednesday with the same judge that issued an earlier order directing her to grant marriage licenses in performance of her official duties while her freedom-of-religion claims move through the courts. Davis is essentially asking the judge for a way out of that order.

Her lawyers argued she shouldn’t have to issue any licenses until her claims are resolved.

Davis is already facing demands that a judge find her in contempt of court. A hearing that issue is scheduled for Thursday; her lawyers must file their response by the close of business Wednesday.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is one of the groups seeking the contempt order, called Davis’ move “a blatant attempt to have a second bite at the apple.”

“This matter is settled, and Ms. Davis can’t avoid the contempt hearing tomorrow by asking for a do-over,” ACLU senior staff attorney Heather Weaver said.

Davis continued to fend off hopeful same-sex couples on Wednesday, turning away two men from Ohio who’d driven to Rowan County for a marriage license.

Robbie Blankenship and Jesse Cruz acknowledged they could have sought a license in their home state, or in another Kentucky county, but said they had the right to get one wherever they chose.

As reporters watched and protesters shouted, Davis told the couple her office wasn’t issuing licenses. Blankenship argued with her, accusing her of “using God for hate” and accusing Davis, who has been divorced three times, of hypocrisy.

“Your interpretation of the Bible doesn’t trump the Constitution,” Blankenship said.

“Our Constitution was founded on faith,” Davis replied.

The argument ended with Davis telling them, “we’re done,” and retreating to her office.

Afterwards, Blankenship called the encounter “devastating.”

“She needs to recognize that she’s not working under the authority of God in this building,” he said.
Two other county clerks in Kentucky are standing with Davis and also refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Casey Davis, the clerk in Casey County, is riding his bicycle across the state to protest courts’ demands that the licenses be granted. And Kay Schwartz, the clerk in Whitley County, has said clerks are being bullied by the federal government.

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(huffington post) – Boy Scouts End Ban On Gay Adults

Boy Scouts End Ban On Gay Adults

Vote allows religiously affiliated scout groups to set their own LGBT policies.
Lydia O’Connor Associate News Editor, The Huffington Post
The Boy Scouts of America voted Monday to lift a long-established ban on gay adults  as employees and volunteers within the organization. The BSA’s full executive board voted 45 to 12 in favor of the change, effective immediately. The vote came after the National Executive Committee unanimously approved a resolution earlier this month stating that “no adult applicant for registration as an employee or non-unit-serving volunteer, who otherwise meets the requirements of the Boy Scouts of America, may be denied registration on the basis of sexual orientation.
“BSA President Robert Gates, the former secretary of defense, had called for an end to the ban. “For far too long, this issue has divided and distracted us,” Gates said in a video released Monday. “Now it’s time to unite behind our shared belief in the extraordinary power of scouting to be a force for good in the community and in the lives of its youth members.”The resolution, which allows previously removed leaders to reapply for their positions, lifts the BSA’s across-the-board ban on gay leaders, but allows religiously affiliated troops to determine their own policies regarding LGBT adults, as scout units are chartered by other non-profits to which the BSA licenses its intellectual property.“Finally, hardworking and devoted gay adult leaders can serve openly and honestly in Scouting without fear of rejection or retribution,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of the advocacy group GLAAD. “Today’s historic vote will strengthen Scouting and sends a message of acceptance that will resonate for years to come, as future Scout leaders are judged by their ability to lead and not their sexual orientation.”Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said the vote “is a welcome step toward erasing a stain on this important organization.” He added: “Including an exemption for troops sponsored by religious organizations undermines and diminishes the historic nature of today’s decision. Discrimination should have no place in the Boy Scouts, period.”“There are differences of opinion, and we need to be respectful of them,” Michael Harrison, a businessman who led the Boy Scouts in Orange County, California, who supported the resolution, told The New York Times this week. “It doesn’t mean the Mormons have to pick a gay scoutmaster, but please don’t tell the Unitarians they can’t.”The Mormon church quickly issued a statement saying that it was “deeply troubled” by the vote and that its “century-long association with Scouting will need to be examined.””The Church has always welcomed all boys to its Scouting units regardless of sexual orientation,” the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints statement said. “However, the admission of openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church and what have traditionally been the values of the Boy Scouts of America.
“Zach Wahls, an Eagle scout and executive director of Scouts for Equality, told The Huffington Post earlier this month that the resolution was imperfect, but a major step.“It’s better than it was,” Wahls said, adding, “I honestly thought we were in for a 10-year wait.

Read Source: Boy Scouts End Ban On Gay Adults

(reuters) – Bobbi Kristina Brown autopsy sheds little light on bathtub mystery

An initial autopsy on Bobbi Kristina Brown on Monday found no significant injuries and no obvious underlying cause of death for the daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, who died on Sunday after sustaining irreversible brain damage in January.

The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office in Georgia said Brown, 22, had no previously unknown medical conditions that would have contributed to her death.

It also said it has issued subpoenas to help gather documentary information on her death, and would conduct additional tests that are expected to take several weeks.

Brown, the only child of Houston and R&B singer Bobby Brown, died at an Atlanta-area hospice where her family had placed her a month ago after giving up hope she would recover. She died six months after an unexplained incident that left her unresponsive in a bathtub in her suburban Atlanta home.

“Krissy was and is an angel. I am completely numb at this time,” Bobby Brown, in his first comments on his daughter’s death, said in a statement issued by his lawyer.

“My family must find a way to live with her in spirit and honor her memory. Our loss is unimaginable. We thank everyone for the prayers for Krissy and our family as we mourn my baby girl,” he added.

The Medical Examiner’s office had said earlier that efforts to determine what happened to Brown in January would be “challenging” given the time gap between the bathtub incident and her death. She was found face down in the bathtub by her boyfriend, Nick Gordon, and a friend on Jan. 31.

A $10 million civil lawsuit filed last month by the court-appointed conservator for Brown accused Gordon of causing her “life-threatening injuries” and of stealing from her bank account while she was in a coma.

No one has been criminally charged in the case, which has been referred to the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office for further review.

Brown’s death came three years after her Grammy-winning mother, who had battled substance abuse, drowned in a bathtub in a Beverly Hills hotel at age 48.

Entertainment news website Entertainment Tonight, citing an unnamed family source, reported on Monday that a funeral for Brown was expected in Atlanta this week. It said her body would then be taken to New Jersey to be buried alongside her mother in Westfield. Representatives of the family have released no details on funeral arrangements.

(The story has been refiled to fix spelling in headline, Bobbi instead of Bobby and add statement from father Bobby Brown in paragraphs five and six)

An initial autopsy on Bobbi Kristina Brown on Monday found no significant injuries and no obvious underlying cause of death for the daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, who died on Sunday

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(The Intelligencer: Bucks County | Montgomery County) – Verizon workers vote to authorize strike, if necessary 

Verizon workers in nine states – including Pennsylvania and New Jersey – have voted to go on strike if necessary over a dispute about a new contract, a union official said at a rally Saturday.
“Our members are clear and they are determined,” said Dennis Trainor, an official with the Communications Workers of America union. “They reject management’s harsh concessionary demands.”

At the rally in New York, the CWA announced that 86 percent of Verizon workers who voted in a recent poll backed strike action if required. A contract that covers 39,000 workers represented by the CWA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers expires at midnight on August 1.
The contract covers employees the nine states from Massachusetts to Virginia who work for Verizon’s wireline business, which provides fixed-line phone services and FiOS Internet service.
The unions say the telecom giant is demanding that workers sharply increase their health care contributions and make concession on pensions.
Verizon spokesman Rich Young said that the company had made the unions “a solid proposal that recognizes the changing communications landscape and offers a path toward success.”
Many of the aspects of the contracts that were set “decades ago” were no longer relevant in an industry that was facing increased pressure and structural change, Young said. He also said that the company had been training non-union employees to take on additional roles to ensure that there was no disruption to customers in the event of a strike.
The contract also affects wireline workers in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, as well as Washington, D.C.
About 45,000 Verizon workers went on strike in August 2011 for about two weeks.<

Repeating:
Verizon workers in nine states – including Pennsylvania and New Jersey – have voted to go on strike if necessary over a dispute about a new contract, a union official said at a rally Saturday.

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(NBC News) – Capsized Boat Found in Search for Boys Missing Off Florida Coast –

An overturned boat was found Sunday belonging to two teenage boys who went missing while fishing off the Florida coast two days earlier, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The 19-foot white single-engine boat that Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, both 14, took out off the coast of Jupiter, Florida, Friday, was found about 67 nautical miles off the coast near Daytona Beach, said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Stephen Lehmann. There was no sign of the boys on the boat, according to the Coast Guard.

A Coast Guard spokesman said one life vest was found in the hull of the boat, but the boys’ families did not know how many life vests were originally on board or if the boys would have been wearing them.

The Coast Guard has anchored the boat where it was located, and crews are searching the area off Daytona Beach, which is about 200 miles north of Jupiter, for the teens.

“This provides us an intelligent view of the currents in the area, which helps us dictate where we are going to put our personnel,” Lehmann said. “Our priority is finding these boys.”

Austin and Perry were last seen buying $110 worth of fuel at 1:30 p.m. and reported missing at about 5 p.m., according to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard and numerous other agencies have covered nearly 14,500-square nautical miles in their search for the boys, and the families of two teenage boys offered a $100,000 reward Sunday for anyone who helps to bring them home safely.

Image: Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen
The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen after they did not return from their fishing trip in the vicinity of Jupiter, Florida. U.S. Coast Guard

“We think clearly that people want the boys rescued without money,” but “there is a little extra incentive beyond the norm,” Perry’s stepfather Nick Korniloff told reporters. “We’ll do anything to get our children back.”

Hall-of-Fame NFL player Joe Namath, who is Korniloff’s neighbor and said he has known Perry for 10 years, also appealed to the public for help.

“We’ll keep on looking until we find them,” the Super Bowl-winning quarterback said. “We’re all praying. … The good Lord’s gotta help us out.”

Korniloff said the teens would have never been allowed to boat to the Bahamas alone. Austin’s mom, Carly Black told NBC affiliate WPTV she’s holding out hope that the boys are alive.

“I just want them home. I know he’s coming home. I just want him home now,” she said.

Perry’s mother, Pamela Cohen echoed that she is confident the boys will be found. “We wholeheartedly believe that they are out there and alive,” she said.

NFL legend and family friend Joe Namath also joined in the plea for help finding young boaters, Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen.

Source: Capsized Boat Found in Search for Boys Missing Off Florida Coast – NBC News

(Defense.gov) – Carter Thanks Troops in Iraq for Helping Nation’s Future

Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks to troops in Baghdad, July 23, 2015, during a weeklong trip to the Middle East that also includes stops in Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. DoD photo by Army Sgt. 1st Class Clydell Kinchen

By John D. Banusiewicz
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, July 24, 2015 – Defense Secretary Ash Carter met with service members in Baghdad yesterday, thanking them for their sacrifices and underscoring the role they play in the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists.

Carter noted that he was in the midst of a weeklong trip in the Middle East region and that he had been meeting with “important people” in several regional capitals.
“You’re the most important people to me,” he said, “and I just want you to know that. … You are why I wake up every morning. You’re what I’m thinking about every day. It’s you –- you [and] your families.”
The secretary told the service members that he appreciates them serving in Iraq while their families wait back home.
Contributing to World Security
“I don’t take it for granted that it’s uncomfortable here, that you put yourself in harm’s way, and that you’re doing that for your fellow citizens of the United States,” he said. “Because our first job is to protect our people and our country, but also, because of who we are, we contribute to the security of the wider world. And it is a big world out there, and we have responsibilities all over it.”
Because it is the world’s most powerful and influential power, Carter said, other nations want to work with the United States — “because they like us, because they like who we are and what we stand for and the way we conduct ourselves.”
That’s a compliment, he added, but it’s also a big burden.
“The Middle East is an important place in the world,” he said. “It’s not the only important place in the world, but it’s a very important one to our country and to world security, and Iraq is an important part of the Middle East.”
The campaign against ISIL will succeed, Carter said, “because civilization always wins over barbarism.”
If beating ISIL once was all there was to it, he told the U.S. service members, they could do it. But that’s not the issue, he said.
Keeping ISIL Beaten
“The defeat we need to give to [ISIL] is a lasting defeat — a defeat that sticks,” he said. “And that can only be done if we’re supporting the people who live here. … To keep them beaten requires the capable, motivated forces here in Iraq, and that requires the support of the Iraqi people.”
The United States can help, enable, train, equip and support the Iraqi security forces in beating ISIL, Carter said.
“But we can’t substitute for them. … We can’t keep them beaten,” he added. “Only the people who live here can keep them beaten.”
The campaign is headed in the right direction, Carter said. “If it were only up to us, it would be more straightforward, but it’s not,” he added. “We have to work with, by, and through them. And that’s what we’re doing. And that takes some time, and it takes some effort, but that’s what it takes to make victories stick when we have victory.”
The secretary told the troops he had spoken with Iraqi leaders earlier in the day, and they understand that and are committed to it.
“So we hope that they can deliver that,” Carter said.

Source: Defense.gov News Article: Carter Thanks Troops in Iraq for Helping Nation’s Future

(WTTE FOX28) – Hillary Clinton Confident About Proper Handling of Emails

Sean Rowe

WINTERSET, Iowa (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton said she never knowingly sent or received classified information using her private email server and did not know what messages were being cited by intelligence investigators as examples of emails containing classified information.
Clinton spoke briefly Saturday about the email matter after a Democratic gathering at the Madison County Historical Complex in which she stressed her commitment to a variety of issues, including her support for pre-kindergarten education and abortion access. Reporters raised the topic of the email during a brief news conference.
“I am confident that I never sent or received any information that was classified at the time it was sent and received. What I think you’re seeing here is a very typical kind of discussion, to some extent disagreement among various parts of the government, over what should or should not be publicly released,” she said.
The front-runner for her party’s nomination said she wanted the information in question to be made public as soon as possible and suggested there was confusion over the issue.
“I think there’s so much confusion around this that I understand why reporters and the public are asking questions, but the facts are pretty clear. I did not send nor receive anything that was classified at the time,” she said.
Intelligence investigators told the Justice Department in a letter this week that secret government information may have been compromised in the unsecured system she used at her New York home during her tenure as secretary of state.
Asked if the Justice Department should investigate, Clinton said: “They can fight over it or argue over it. That’s up to them. I can tell you what the facts are.”
In addition to alerting the Justice Department to the potential compromise of classified information, the inspector general of the U.S. intelligence community sent a memo to members of Congress indicating that “potentially hundreds of classified emails” were among the 30,000 that Clinton had provided to the State Department.
The office said it also raised that concern with FBI counterintelligence officials and was recommending changes in how the emails are being reviewed and processed for public release. The State Department is reviewing 55,000 pages of emails with the goal of releasing all of them by Jan. 29.
The intelligence inspector general, I. Charles McCullough, and his counterpart at the State Department, Steve Linick, said that McCullough’s office found four emails containing classified information in a limited sample of 40 emails.
Whether the Justice Department would investigate the potential compromise the intelligence inspector general highlighted was not clear. The referral to the Justice Department does not seek a criminal probe and does not specifically target Clinton.
In its letter to congressional oversight committees, the inspector general’s office said that it was concerned that “these emails exist on at least one private server and thumb drive with classified information and those are not in the government’s possession,” Andrea Williams, a spokeswoman for McCullough, said earlier this week.
The letter said none of the emails was marked “classified” at the time it was sent or received but that some should have been handled as such and sent on a secure computer network.
Clinton has said she used the private server at her home as a matter of convenience to limit her number of electronic devices.
Source: Hillary Clinton Confident About Proper Handling of Emails – WTTE – WTTE FOX28

(reuters) – Suspect fatally wounded after shooting at Florida trooper: authorities

A suspect died from a gunshot wound on Saturday after he allegedly shot at a state trooper, who stopped to help the driver of a broken down vehicle along a northern Florida highway, authorities said.

The unidentified man fired several rounds from a handgun at a Florida Highway Patrol trooper along Interstate 75 in Micanopy, Florida, 15 miles (24 km) south of Gainesville, the Alachua County Sheriff said.

The trooper was uninjured during the incident that unfolded at about 8:30 a.m. local time, Alachua County Sheriff spokesman Art Forgey said.
Responding police surrounded the suspect in dense woods near the highway before he was fatally wounded. It was not immediately clear whether the gunman shot himself or was shot by police, according to Forgey.

Forgey said the shooter was associated with the broken down vehicle, but did not know whether he was the driver or a passenger.

A motive for the shooting was not immediately known, Forgey said.

The highway was shut down for several hours as police searched for the shooter in the woods.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Fiona Ortiz in Chicago, Bernard Orr)

Repeating:
A suspect died from a gunshot wound on Saturday after he allegedly shot at a state trooper, who stopped to help the driver of a broken down vehicle along a northern Florida highway, authorities said.

Source: >Suspect fatally wounded after shooting at Florida trooper: authorities

(OnPolitics) – Trump still tops Republican polls |

 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks in Phoenix on July 11, 2015. (Ross D. Franklin, AP)
>Even after a week of attacks over his criticism of John McCain, Donald Trump continues to lead the Republican Party presidential field, a new CNN/ORC poll says.Trump, at 18% among Republican and GOP-leaning voters, leads Jeb Bush at 15% and Scott Walker with 10%, the survey says.The many other Republican candidates are in single digits.“Trump’s backing has climbed 6 points since a late-June poll, while support for Bush and Walker has not changed significantly,”
CNN reports.Two other NBC News-Marist polls also show Trump doing well in the early contest states of Iowa and New Hampshire.The billionaire leads in New Hampshire with 21%, followed by Bush at 14%, and Walker at 12%.Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, leads in neighboring Iowa with 19%, followed by Trump at 17%, and Bush at 12%, according to the NBC-Marist survey.Reports NBC News:The polls were conducted July 14-21 — so before and after Trump’s controversial comments belittling John McCain’s war record on July 18. And they suggest the comments didn’t affect Trump in Iowa (he was at 16% before the comments and 18% after), but they did hurt him in New Hampshire (26% before, 14% after).In an interview on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, Trump said voters are simply tired of ineffectual politicians.
“This is more than me,” Trump said. “This is a movement going on. People are tired of these incompetent politicians in Washington that can’t get anything done. They can’t make deals. They can’t do anything.”Despite his momentum, most Republicans do not see Trump actually winning the GOP Republican nomination next year — 31% expect Bush to be the nominee, while 22% believe Trump will be. Another 14% predict a Walker nomination.
CNN reports that poll was done after Trump “earned rebukes from Republican leaders over his comments about Senator John McCain’s military service.”
Source: Trump still tops Republican polls | OnPolitics

(Fox News) – At least 120 killed as Saudi-led airstrikes target Yemeni residential area

The aftermath of a Saudi-led air strike on Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, on 20 July. Photograph: Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

(AP)SANAA, Yemen –  Saudi-led coalition airstrikes hit a residential area in a quiet Red Sea town in Yemen, killing at least 120 people in the deadliest strike against civilians since the March offensive began, security and medical officials said.Hours later, the coalition unexpectedly announced that it would start a five-day humanitarian pause on Sunday, just before midnight.The airstrikes late Friday hit workers’ housing for a power plant in Mokha, flattening some of the buildings to the ground, the officials said. A fire erupted in the area, charring many of the corpses, including children, women and elderly people.Wahib Mohammed, an eyewitness and area resident, said some of the bodies were torn apart by the force of the blast and buried in a mass grave on Saturday. Some of the strikes also hit nearby livestock pens, he said. Human and animal blood pooled on the ground of the surrounding area.The deadly strike highlights growing concerns that the Saudi-led coalition’s airstrikes are increasingly killing civilians as they continue to target Shiite rebels known as Houthis.”It just shows what is the trend now of the airstrikes from the coalition,” said Hassan Boucenine of the Geneva-based Doctors Without Borders. “Now, it’s a house, it’s a market, it’s anything.”He added that many of the workers had families visiting for the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Mokha, populated largely by fisherman, had a reputation as one of the safest places in the country embroiled in war, said Boucenine.Saudi officials could not be reached for comment, and the government’s official media did not issue a statement about the deadly strike. Over the course of the war, rights groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have expressed concern that the Saudi-led coalition is violating laws of war and not doing enough to prevent or minimize civilian casualties.It is not clear why the workers’ housing was hit. Yemeni security officials said the closest Houthi outpost to Friday evening’s strike is at least 5 kilometers (3 miles) away. Four airstrikes hit the residence after Saudi-led coalition planes launched dozens of missiles on positions of Shiite Houthi rebels and their allies in the surrounding area. The strikes in the area continued Saturday as dozens of families fled, security officials and eyewitnesses said.A military official said the coalition had been given incorrect coordinates. He denied that the coordinates had come from anyone in the district and said he called the coalition to inform them of the high number of civilian casualties.All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.Boucenine, of Doctors Without Borders, said the hospital in Mokha had closed weeks prior due to a lack of medical supplies and staff. Some of the injured died en route to the hospital in the city of Hodeida, 180 kilometers (112 miles) north. The provincial capital of Taiz was inaccessible due to ongoing fighting. Boucenine said the hospital confirmed 44 fatalities, though he expected the actual toll was significantly higher.Deif Allah al-Shamy, a Houthi leader, called Friday’s strike “an ugly crime and a flagrant violation of human rights.”Houthi rebels have also been criticized by rights groups for causing civilian casualties. Houthis and their allies randomly shelled a town earlier this week outside of Aden after losing control of some the port city’s neighborhoods, killing nearly 100 people, Doctors Without Borders said.Since March 26, at least 1,693 civilians have been killed in the Yemen fighting, with 3,829 wounded, the U.N. said earlier this week. It says civilians have been killed by mortar fire and ground fighting though “the majority of the casualties are reported to have been caused by air strikes.”The fighting in Yemen pits the Houthis and troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh against southern separatists, local and tribal militias, Sunni Islamic militants and loyalists of exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who is now in Saudi Arabia.The U.N. human rights office said in a statement this week that “since 17 June, there has been further destruction of civilian infrastructure, with at least 36 buildings, including hospitals, schools, court houses, power generation facilities, and communications institutions partially or totally damaged.”Less than a day after the deadly strike, the Saudi-led coalition announced it will start a five-day humanitarian pause in Yemen on Sunday just before midnight.The statement, carried on Saudi state media Saturday, said the pause came as a result of a request by Hadi to Saudi’s King Salman.It said the coalition will cease military operations, but that it will respond should Houthi rebels or their allies conduct any military actions or movements.The truce is intended to give pause to months of punishing fighting in the war-torn impoverished Gulf nation and allow for the dispersing of much-needed humanitarian aid.

The previous humanitarian pause, which was announced earlier this month and was expected to last until the end of the holy month of Ramadan, never truly went into effect as both sides blamed each other and civilian deaths continued.

Source: At least 120 killed as Saudi-led airstrikes target Yemeni residential area | Fox News

(The Kansas City Star) – Judge: US violates agreement in detention of immigrant kids

Detained immigrant children line up in the cafeteria at the Karnes County Residential Center.

LOS ANGELES A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Department of Justice’s current system of detaining children with their mothers after they have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border violates an 18-year-old court settlement.The decision Friday by U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in California is a victory for the immigrant rights lawyers who brought the case, but its immediate implications for detainees were not yet clear. The ruling upholds a tentative decision Gee made in April, and comes a week after the two sides told her that they failed to reach a new settlement agreement as she had requested.The 1997 settlement at issue bars immigrant children from being held in unlicensed, secure facilities. Gee found that settlement covered all children in the custody of federal immigration officials, even those being held with a parent.Peter Schey, executive director of the Center for Human Rights and one of the attorneys who brought the lawsuit, said federal officials “know they’re in violation of the law.””They are holding children in unsafe facilities. It’s that simple,” Schey told The Associated Press. “It’s intolerable, it’s in humane, and it needs to end — and end sooner rather than later.”Justice Department spokeswoman Nicole Navas said Saturday that her agency was reviewing the order.The new lawsuit was brought on by new major detention centers for women and children in Texas that are overseen by the U.S. government but are managed by private prison operators. Together, the centers have recently held more than 2,000 women and children between them after a surge of tens of thousands of immigrants from Central America, most of them mothers with children, many of whom said they were fleeing gang and domestic violence back home.The Justice Department had argued it was necessary to modify the settlement and use detention to try to deter more immigrants from coming to the border after last year’s surge. The department said it was an important way to keep families together while their immigration cases were being reviewed, but the judge rejected that argument in Friday’s decision.Gee gave the Department of Justice one week to show cause why she should not enter an injunction that would require the government to comply with the ruling within 90 days.But since the tentative ruling in April, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has vowed to make the facilities more child-friendly and provide better oversight.

Read Source: Judge: US violates agreement in detention of immigrant kids | The Kansas City Star

(wthitv.com) – Detective assigned to guard Lee Harvey Oswald looks back on JFK assassination

WARWICK, RI (WPRI) — As John F. Kennedy was training at Newport Naval Station at the start of World War II, a young Texan was also training with the Navy, never imagining his path would cross with JFK during one of the most tragic weekends in American history.

Kennedy would marry at Newport’s Hammersmith Farm, which would later be nicknamed “The Summer White House.” While JFK’s political star was rising, Elmer Boyd, who’s now 87 years old, rose through the ranks of the Dallas Police Department. Boyd recently visited Rhode Island for the reunion of the U.S.S. Bailey,and looked back at that day when JFK’s life ended, and countless conspiracy theories began.

“I was working a murder case,” Boyd said, adding that his job was to guard accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. In fact, Boyd was always to Oswald’s left, except for one violent moment that was seen live across the country.

“It wasn’t a federal case yet,” Boyd said, referring to the hours after the assassination. “But we knew it was a big deal, and we were determined to get the facts.”

Boyd was engaged in the security preparations leading up to the president’s visit, but as it would be today, the Secret Service made the key decisions. So, he couldn’t shed any light on why the president’s limousine was not protected during the motorcade with a specially made plastic bubble top. It would later be reported that the enclosure was not bullet proof, but the decision not to use it would fuel a few conspiracy theories.

Elmer Boyd, on Oswald’s left, in November of 1963.

Boyd pointed out that a Dallas newspaper ran an extensive article on the morning before the assassination about how the social issues of the era provoked some Texas tension for the president. But Boyd said those concerns were not reflected in the Secret Service briefings in the days and hours before the shots were fired at Kennedy around 12:30 in the afternoon on November 22, 1963.

As Boyd and some 19 other Dallas detectives worked the case, the first shocker came from across town where Boyd’s friend and fellow officer J.D. Tippit was shot to death, with Oswald put in cuffs for that homicide.

“We had at least two real good witnesses to the Tippit shooting,” Boyd said. “They said Oswald shot him across the hood of the car. Then, after he fell, [Oswald} went around and shot him again. And he reloaded his pistol and took off running and that’s when he went to the theater and got caught.”

For detective Boyd, the facts surrounding the Tippit shooting would trump Oswald’s series of denials over the next two days.

“I was assigned to get him in and out of the jail for the police, FBI and Secret Service to talk to him,” Boyd recalled. “And I was there for 70 to 80 percent of the interrogations.”

And during the dozens of times Oswald was walked between the numerous investigators and his cell, Boyd was there, listening to the responses to the media from the former Marine, and Russian defector. One quote stands out to this day.

“He said I hadn’t shot anybody. They’re trying to make a patsy out of me,” Boyd said.

But when asked if he believed Oswald, the tall Texan was short.

“No,” Boyd said. “No, I didn’t.”

While Oswald was hammered with questions from local and federal investigators, Boyd listened and tried to make sense of it all. But he said at times, the suspect talked in circles.

“Well, he would talk to you about anything, except shooting the president,” Boyd said. “The rest of the time, he was as cool as he could be. He would give you an answer. It wasn’t always the truth, but he would answer you.”

Boyd’s assignment kept him going around the clock, until about 3:30 in the morning on November 24. “They sent me home,” he said. “To get some rest.”

But like the rest of the nation, he was watching as Oswald was transported from the police station to the county jail. Boyd was on a couch, observing history with his father-in-law.

“There’s a scuffle,” the broadcaster said as order turned to chaos in grainy black and white. “Oswald has been shot. Oswald has been shot.”

Boyd doesn’t recall the emotions he felt watching his colleagues deal with skirmish that followed the gunfire, but he knew who the gunman was.

“I said that looked like old Jack Ruby. And sure enough it was. I knew him. He was a nightclub operator.”

To hear that he was somehow connected to organized crime and a conspiracy to silence Oswald, the self-proclaimed patsy, didn’t make sense to Boyd.

“He wasn’t a big mafia thing like they tried to make him out to be,” Boyd said with a slight grin. “We knew him as just a club owner. He had even made us sandwiches as we investigated the assassination. But we told him we were fine and he gave them to the news people.”

After Oswald was shot to death, Boyd and his partner were assigned to guard Ruby.

“First thing he said, ‘are y’all mad at me?’” Boyd recalled. “[My partner] told him, ‘no Jack. I’m not mad at you, but what you did was a terrible thing.’”

Jack Ruby fires what would be a fatal shot at accused assassin Oswald.

Then, a shocker from the man who was so familiar with police, he would make them a platter of sandwiches.

“He said ‘if you and Mr. Boyd had been with [Oswald], I might not have shot him,’” Boyd said. “I think about that. I just wonder, you know. Was it true? I think Ruby wanted to be a hero. That’s what I think.”

Boyd didn’t talk about the case in public for about 40 years, saying he just wasn’t that kind of guy. But as the theories about various plots grew in number and depth, he said he couldn’t help but noticed that so many others were offering what he knew was false information.

“Every time I’d read the paper, my partner would call and we would say, did you see that? Did you hear that?” Boyd said. “And we’d agree. Well, that just didn’t happen.”

As someone who was dialed in to the investigation for those terrible two days in November of 1963, and for the weeks that followed, Boyd’s opinion grew clear.

“I don’t think it was a conspiracy,” he said. “Now, like I said, I don’t try to change anyone else’s opinion. But I don’t think it was a conspiracy.”

Boyd, who turns 88 in September, is sad to say that he is one of only two Dallas detectives out of the 20 who investigated the assassination, who are still alive.

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(NBC News) – Las Vegas Cosmopolitan Hotel Fire Leaves Two People Injured 

One person was hospitalized after the blaze was sparked on a pool deck of the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino.
A fire erupted Saturday on the pool deck of a Las Vegas hotel, sending thick smoke billowing high above The Strip.

Two people were treated for smoke inhalation and one of them was hospitalized after the blaze was sparked on a pool deck of the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino, Clark County Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Buchanan told NBC News.

The fire torched trees and cabanas at the Bamboo Pool on the west side of the hotel, but made little impact inside the building, according to the department. The Cosmopolitan said in a statement that “proper evacuation procedures were used.”

The fire was extinguished about 45 minutes after it was reported at about 12:15 p.m. (3:15 p.m. ET), according to NBC affiliate KSNV. The cause of the fire is under investigation, according to the hotel statement.
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