Lima Charlie’s U.S./D.C. Week in Review – July 16

16th of July – Lima Charlie’s U.S./Washington End-of-Week News Briefing:

 |  #PrayForTurkey

On JUL15, shortly before 1 PM PST, the #Turkish military—the second largest army in #NATO declared martial law, asserting in a statement that it had “fully seized control” of the country in an attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip #Erdoğan. On JUL16, the most updated fatality total accounted for over 60 people killed and over 1,000 injured.

As gunfire erupted at police headquarters in capital city Ankara and #Istanbul’s #TaksimSquare, a statement from the Turkish military was released, citing that the action comes in sharp protest against the corruption in Turkey’s government that has tainted the country’s democratic, secular rule, adding that #Turkey will now be ruled by a “peace council.”

At 12:24 AM local time in Turkey, President Erdogan was forced to deliver his retaliatory words via FaceTime on an iPhone. “Go to the streets and give them their answer. I am coming to a square in Ankara…Those who are responsible, we will give them the necessary punishment…Truly a modern coup…You can’t make it up,” from an undisclosed location.

US President #BarackObama and Secretary of State #JohnKerry pledged “absolute support for Turkey’s democratically-elected, civilian government and democratic institutions.”

On Friday, military jets—including an #F16 flying just 100m from the ground—were seen, as Turkish Prime Minister #BinaliYildirim confirmed the coup was being attempted, adding that security forces were working to restore order and that the coup would fail.

The Turkish military—deployed in Istanbul and Ankara—had also reportedly blocked social media, with the #USStateDepartment acknowledging the news and urging people to contact friends and family via email, text, and phone.

Early on Saturday morning, state-run #AnadoluAgency reported that a bomb had hit the Turkish parliament in Ankara, killing 12 people.

Seventeen Turkish officers had been reportedly killed in a helicopter attack at the #Gölbaşı Special Ops headquarters, a police facility. The helicopter was reportedly shot down by a Turkish fight jet piloted by “coup plotters,” according to a Turkish presidential source. Video was released of Turkish helicopters shooting at civilians in Ankara.

By 4:30 AM, Turkish officials—according to Reuters and the New York Times—reported that Erdogan’s plane was landing in Istanbul. Erdogan returned to supporters gathered at the airport, “three hours after elements of the military staged a coup and attempted to seize control with tanks on the streets of one of America’s key NATO allies.” In a video released by #SkyNews, Erdogan is seen greeting airport crowds amidst his return. Upon emerging from his vehicle, he vowed to “cleanse the army,” declaring, “A minority within the armed forces has unfortunately been unable to stomach Turkey’s unity…no power is above the national will.” Erdogan’s return to his hometown, rather than the capital city of Ankara, indicates that the coup is not over yet. However, more than 750 soldiers were arrested, including 29 colonels and 5 generals, with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim ordering all soldiers return to their bases and calling those behind the coup “traitors” who committed a terrorist act.”

Around 7:09 AM, local Istanbul time, Erdogan asserted, “The government is not leaving the state. We will be prepared to die.”

As Lima Charlie continues to monitor the attempted coup in Turkey, we send our thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims and all those in the midst of the ongoing violence in the region.

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#PorteOuverteNice #Nice06

On JUL14, a day in #French history which celebrates the country’s first stirrings of democracy—at 10:45 PM local time, an assailant identified as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, substituted weapons and arms for a deadly speeding refrigerator truck aimed at a packed crowd, killing 84 and wounding 202 in #Nice, France.

According to prosecutors, 31 year-old Lahouaiej-Bouhlel drove the 19-ton box truck past the #FondationLenval children’s hospital and moved on to the promenade, where he revved the engine into the packed crows. He drove his truck 2km along the famed #PromenadedesAnglais before firing shots at police with a 7.65mm caliber automatic pistol. His vehicle was close to the #NegrescoHotel by this point and was stopped upon reaching the #PalaisdelaMediterrannee hotel, where he was shot dead.

His truck contained replica Kalashnikov and M16 rifles, a dummy grenade, a fake pistol, and an ammunition magazine. Adjacent, was a bicycle, a cell phone, empty pallets, and documents.

Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, known by police for petty crimes, was a Nice resident born in #Tunisia. He was not on a watch list of French intelligence services as a suspected militant and had three children with his now-divorced wife.

The state of emergency, which has been in place since last year’s Paris attacks, which claimed 130 lives, has been extended by three months. According to Tunisian security sources, he last visited #Msaken—his hometown—four months ago.

In a statement by French President #FrancoisHollande, the leader offered, “France is tearful. It is afflicted, but it is strong and will always be stronger, I can assure you, than the fanatics that want to strike it today.” Hollande added that he would call on reservist soldiers and gendarmes to restore order to the country, including border protection, also vowing to ramp up military action in #Iraq and #Syria where it has been a participant amongst the countries fighting Islamic State militants.

According to French Police and the President himself, the attack is being treated as an act of terrorism, though neither ISIS nor any other terrorist group has officially claimed responsibility. Despite this, almost immediately after the bloodshed, ISIS supporters flooded Twitter with support for the attack.

The hashtag #PorteOuverteNice, modified to fit the location of the attack, immediately resurfaced, following its use in November 2015 in the aftermath of shootings at a restaurant near the 10th Arrondissement of Paris, the Stade de France, and the #Bataclan concert venue in the 11th Arrondissement. The phrase, which translates to “open door,” has been used by many Twitter Users, not just as a symbolic message of solidarity, but as a physical offer, opening up their homes to those needing a place of shelter. #Nice06 and #RechercheNice have also been used, as a solemn gesture of unity in the postcode of the district where the tragedy occurred and a reminder to continue the search for family members and loved ones.

As Lima Charlie continues to monitor the tragic events in Nice, we send our thoughts and prayers to the families of the 84 victims—10 children and adolescents among them—and the more than 200 still fighting for their lives.

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#– — USEmbassyInSouthSudan

Over this past weekend—JUL8 to JUL10—bloody unrest embroiled the nation of #SouthSudan, claiming at least 272 lives and placing the country and worldwide troops on emergency alert. Divided between two camps—troops loyal to President Salva #Kiir versus Vice President Rieck #Machar, the weekend’s violence marked a continuing tide of ethnic war between opposing #Nuers and #Dinkas, the tribe of the Vice President and the President, respectively.

On JUL9, South Sudan celebrated its fifth year of independence—the newest country in the world. Since its 2011 split from #Sudan, the East African republic has spiraled into a deadly civil war marred by these ethnic undertones. On JUL8, a devastating crisis had once again returned to capital city, Juba.

On JUL11, the US ordered all non-essential personnel to leave the site of the embassy as violence escalated, noting that the decision did not constitute a full evacuation, in a US Embassy statement. The same day, both the SPLA/M-In Government and the SPLA/M-In Opposition declared a ceasefire, though tensions remain high.

On JUL12, the United States deployed and airlifted 47 additional troops from US Africa Command’s Crisis Response Force to protect the embassy in Juba, amidst deteriorating security on the ground, as part of an “ordered departure.” According to #AFRICOM spokeswoman, Samantha Reho, “This contingent brought in several vehicles solely for use in protecting the embassy.”

The deployed US Marine Security Augmentation Unit (MSAU) was created after the September 2012 Benghazi, Libya attacks that resulted in the death of four Americans.

Among those killed in the senseless conflict were two #Chinese #UN Peacekeepers in armoured vehicles and a United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (#UNESCO) worker, Florence Lawa. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged an arms embargo on South Sudan and called for efforts to empower the #UNMISS (United Nations Mission in South Sudan) to ensure civilians protection in the country.

As of JUL15, although the ceasefire appears to be holding, many of the 45,000 who fled the violence have embarked on a desperate mission to locate food and water, with little success. Just last August, Kiir and Machar signed a peace agreement in #AddisAbaba, amidst heavy global pressures. On JUL 14, President Kiir called upon rival leader Machar to meet again for possible peace talks. Speaking to reporters at his presidential compound, Kiir expressed the country’s desire to “chart the way forward.” The president also noted he is prepared to protect Machar and his allies if they agree to come to the compound.

As we continue to monitor these unfolding events, Lima Charlie sends our thoughts and prayers to all the families of the dead and the total 10,659 killed since 2013 in the course of the ongoing #SouthSudanCivilWar.

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#Election2016

On JUL15, Presumptive #GOP Nominee, #DonaldTrump, announced his Vice Presidential running-mate, Governor #MikePence of #Indiana, following a postponement of the news in light of the Nice, Paris attack on the previous night.

Delivered via Twitter, at 10:50 AM, Trump’s Vice Presidential announcement comes just 3 days before the #RepublicanNationalConvention.

Other finalists in the search for Mr. Trump’s Vice President included New Jersey Governor #ChrisChristie, Alabama Senator #JeffSessions, and 50th Speaker of the US House of Representatives, #NewtGingrich—all of whom he met with during this week. Trump announced he will be holding a news conference on JUL16 at 11AM, regarding his VP choice.

Governor Pence, 57, is a former House Republican leader and ideological purist, whose traditional socially conservative views will likely help the ticket to unite disparate blocs of the Republican coalition.

#PaulRyan commented on Mr. Trump’s pick, saying: “Mike Pence comes from the heart of the conservative movement and the heart of America. I can think of no better choice for our vice-presidential candidate. We need someone who is steady and secure in his principles, someone who can cut through the noise and make a compelling case for conservatism. Mike Pence is that man.”

Even parties who ran ad campaigns against the GOP Presidential nominee expressed their support for the joint ticket, including Club for Growth and ForAmerica.

On JUL13, in the aftermath of the #Dallas shooting, #HillaryClinton spoke on issues of race and unity in the #OldStateCapitol where, almost 160 years ago, #AbrahamLincoln delivered his “a house divided speech.” Using the Illinois Old State House chamber as her backdrop, the former Secretary of State argued that the country must repair its divisions, amidst a downward spiral of high-profile police shootings. Just one week before the Republican National Convention, Clinton acknowledged that figures on both sides of the aisle must contribute to the healing of a wounded nation. “As someone in the middle of a hotly fought political campaign, I cannot stand here and claim that my words and actions haven’t sometimes fueled the partisanship that often stands in the way of our progress.”

Although the former Secretary of State mentioned the recent deaths of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, the killings of five police officers in Dallas, and the deaths of five lesser-known police-involved deaths of Latinos, she directed her attention largely on GOP Presumptive Nominee Donald Trump.

As she closed her speech, Clinton gave a nod to the 16th President of our nation, addressing the tides of division that have grown increasingly high in the aftermath of recent police shootings and senseless violence against police, alike: “The challenges we face today do not approach those of Lincoln’s time. Not even close,” she said. “But recent events have left people across America asking hard questions about whether we are still a house divided.”

On JUL14, Supreme Court Justice #RuthBaderGinsburg expressed regret for her remarks about a Donald Trump candidacy, earlier this week. Justice Ginsburg called Mr. Trump a “faker,” amongst other harsh comments, and, in reflection, she offered in a public statement: “My recent remarks in response to press inquiries were ill-advised and I regret making them. Judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office. In the future I will be more circumspect.”

Prior to her statement, the GOP Presumptive Nominee remarked to the #NewYorkTimes, “I think it’s highly inappropriate that a #UnitedStatesSupremeCourtJudge gets involved in a political campaign, frankly…I couldn’t believe it when I saw it.” House Speaker #PaulRyan added, in a CNN interview, “I find it very peculiar, and I think it’s out of place.”

On JUL14, Republican delegates approved a draft of the new GOP platform, signing the document that largely embraces Donald Trump’s economic proposals but maintains its stance against same-sex marriage and other socially conservative issues.

The #RepublicanPlatformCommittee, made up of 112 GOP delegates, vigorously debated the issues on Monday and Tuesday, moving toward Trump’s positions on trade and immigration. The Committee did not take a stance on the existing North American Free Trade Agreement (#NAFTA) or the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a deal which hangs in the balance between its 12 Pacific Rim nations—an agreement that the GOP Presumptive Nominee has pledged to end.

The platform reads, in part: “We need better negotiated trade agreements that put America first”. “We cannot allow foreign governments to limit American access to their markets while stealing our designs, patents, brands, know-how and technology.”

The delegates also approved a draft of language for the wall that Trump has proposed, a hallmark of his GOP campaign. As the proposition reads, the wall would cover “the entirety of the southern border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”

Kris Kobach, #Kansas Secretary of State, and well-known constitutional lawyer—introduced the amendment to explicitly call for an American wall.

On social issues, Tuesday marked the very first time the committee has had to vote on a resolution removing the traditional language on marriage and substituting it with a position in support of same-sex marriage. The proposal was offered by a delegate of #DC, #RachelHoff, the first openly gay member of the committee. The proposal was not approved and the final draft of Tuesday’s platform delivered a major victory for staunch social conservatives in the party.

Other defeated proposals include one to get rid of the #TSA, a proposition to legalize medical marijuana, and an effort to remove language opposing women from fighting in combat positions in the military.

Mr. Trump’s aides and delegates remarked that the real estate mogul was comfortable with delegates taking the lead on certain policy guidelines, also noting that the campaign was arranging to invite opposition to his candidacy to the nominating convention next week.

The platform will formally be adopted into its final form on Monday and will be reviewed by the full Republican National Convention in #Cleveland next week. It is expected to reach approval, ratifying constitutional conservative principles and values for the 2016 election.

#ForeignAffairs

 On JUL12, US Secretary of State #JohnKerry announced the State Department’s newest program expected to expand safety for American citizens in their travels abroad, entitled “MissionOne.” According to the Department’s Press Release, the first part of Mission One will be rolled out by the end of 2016 and will include:

The American Liaison Network (ALN): The #ALN expands existing consular “warden” system, which is a network of volunteers who facilitate communication between the U.S. embassies and consulates and the U.S. citizen community abroad. For decades, local U.S. citizens have worked closely with our consular officers to help protect and inform U.S. citizens overseas. We’ve taken a close look at the how we can improve on this great work and harness modern technology. Under the ALN, these U.S. citizens are now called Citizen Liaison Volunteers (CLVs), reflecting the expansion of their traditional warden role from conveyors of information to true liaisons to the U.S. citizen communities. CLVs will work with U.S. embassies and consulates to identify the needs of the U.S. citizen community so that we may more effectively work to address security, safety, and health issues that affect U.S. citizens.

The Local Resources Initiative (LRI): #LRI expands our assistance to U.S. citizens abroad who seek emergency assistance. U.S. embassies and consulates are identifying gaps in information concerning local services—such as medical care, crisis counseling, and destitute shelters—and working with local organizations, NGOs, and businesses to fill those gaps. We will improve the format and accessibility of these expanded lists of resources on all U.S. mission websites.

The second component to #MissionOne, completing the rollout of the program, will be completed by 2017 and will include:

Online Passport Renewal (OPR): This project will allow U.S. passport renewal customers to submit their applications online, including payment and photo submission. This innovation will reduce application submission times for an anticipated record-breaking number of passport applicants in 2017 and beyond.

Next Generation Passport: New design features, such as a polycarbonate data page, laser engravings, micro-text, and special inks, will protect the integrity of the world’s premier travel document.

In light of the increasing dangers posed to Americans abroad—in light of incidents in #Benghazi and South Sudan—MissionOne plans to bolster the American Liaison Network, a web of expat civilians who work in harmony with embassies and consulates to help US travelers. The wardens will add a new name to their role, as Citizen Liaison Volunteers. Through the program, embassies worldwide will provide a compendium of information listing essential contacts for medical care, crisis counseling, police, and shelter needs in emergencies abroad.

On JUL14, the #USHouseofRepresentatives passed two bills regarding the international nuclear agreement with Iran. The passage of this legislation comes just one year after the landmark agreement was made, exhibiting defiance in the face of President Obama’s threat to veto the bill. Every #Republican in Congress, including some #Democrats, opposed the #IranNuclearDeal, which gave #Tehran relief from dire international sanctions in exchange for curbing its nuclear program.

On JUL15, a contingent of #Senate #Democrats began the push for a new law giving the US the ability to hit companies with economic sanctions for doing business with Iran. The existing Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 expires at year-end. Senator #BenCardin—of the Foreign Relations Committee—and 13 other Democrats, are supporting this legislation which would extend the Act for 10 additional years.

On JUL14, #USSecretaryofState #JohnKerry met with #RussianPresident #VladimirPutin, discussing the need to increase intelligence and military cooperation against ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria. The 3-hour meeting lasted until 1 AM at the Kremlin, in which both men expressed optimism of reaching an agreement that would mark the first time American and Russian air attacks on ISIS and the Nusra Front would be coordinated. As White House Press Secretary, #JoshEarnest said, “We’ve always made clear that we would welcome a military contribution from Russia, as long as they were focused on #ISIL and Al-Qaeda’s presence in #Syria.”

#CommercialDataTransferPact

On JUL12, a new commercial data pact between the #EuropeanUnion and the #UnitedStates entered into force, ending months of uncertainty over cross-border data flows. Companies such as #Google, #Facebook, and #Microsoft can now sign up from Aug. 1. The EU-U.S. Privacy Shield will give businesses moving personal data from Europe to the U.S., making it easier to do so without the usual EU data transferal rules. The Privacy Shield will strengthen the protection of Europeans whose data is moved to U.S. servers by giving EU citizens greater means to appeal in case of disputes, including through a new privacy advocate within the State Department to deal with complaints from EU citizens about U.S. spying. EU data protection authorities, who had demanded improvements to the Privacy Shield in April, said they were analyzing the framework and would finalize a position by July 25.

#NationalSecurity

ON JUL15, a long-classified US report, known as the “28 pages,” was finally declassified by #PresidentObama, revealing that some of the September 11th hijackers received support from individuals connected to the #Saudi Government. The #HouseIntelligenceCommittee published the report on its website, a day after it was sent to Congress. Although the documents implicate several Saudi nationals in the planning phase of the attack, there is no direct “smoking gun” associated with the report.

#SchoolsOut

On JUL14, the #USCongress began its seven-week summer recess. Lima Charlie News delivers a look at what lawmakers on the #Hill accomplished so far in 2016 and the unfinished action that remains:

Landmark Bills Signed Into Law:

First Overhaul of the Toxic Substances Act Since 1976 (JUN22): Representatives on both sides of the aisle came together to pass a law that, for the first time, provides for uniform federal standards for tens of thousands of common airborne chemicals, setting safety benchmarks for lethal substances, including formaldehyde, styrene, and asbestos. The law also proposes avenues to standardize—at a national level—the present convoluted system of regulations for the 800 billion-per-year industry. The legislation comes after upwards of three years of discussions, debate, and drafting.

#PresidentObama signed the bill into law on JUN22 at 11:45 AM, remarking in a speech, “The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act for the 21st Century will make it easier for the EPA to review chemicals already on the market…just like in the 1970s, when we decided to do something about smog that was choking our cities and our auto industry was able to innovate to make our cars cleaner, just like in the 1990s, when we had the problems with acid rain and our businesses figured out a way to do something about it and still keep growing and thriving, I’m absolutely confident that we can regulate toxic chemicals in a way that’s both good for our families and ultimately good for business and our economy–because nobody can innovate better than folks here in this country and our businesses.

PROMESA Act (JUL1): The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (#PROMESA), signed by #PresidentObama at the beginning of the month, established a federally-appointed control board with comprehensive power to assist in solving the territory’s monumental debt crisis.

On July 1st, #PuertoRico defaulted on 779 million dollars of constitutionally-backed debt, marking the first time since 1933 that a state or territory has failed to pay its general obligation bonds on time.

Spanish for “promise,” the bill was passed at a time in which Puerto Rico was widely expected to default on its 2 billion dollar bond payment. While the bill doesn’t fund the payment of the debt, it prevents bondholders from suing the island at least for a few months.

Bills Awaiting Approval in Congressional Chamber or Executive Branch

Landmark Mental Health Bill (JUL6): Legislators in the #HouseofRepresentatives passed the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR 2646) by an overwhelming 422-2 vote. The legislation—proposed in the aftermath of the 2012 Newtown tragedy—represents a necessary first step in reforming the country’s mental health programs.

Representative Christopher Gibson (New York) said, “It fills a void that has existed for decades now since we de-institutionalized in the 1970s. A decision I support, but we never put federal policy behind it until today. Resources for the local level, inpatient care for Americans and families and mental health crisis. It improves coordination across the agencies to deliver better suicide awareness and prevention in mental health.”

The Act focuses programs and resources on psychiatric care for patients and families most in need of services, aiming to reduce the number of patients who end up in the criminal justice system or on the streets due to a lack of resources.

Fifty years have elapsed since President Kennedy signed the Community Mental Health Centers Act (P.L. 88-164), transforming the federal government’s involvement in mental health. Since then, the issue of mental health has long been stigmatized—even as one in every five Americans struggles with mental illness.

In the recent, high-profile mass killings linked to untreated mental health illnesses, perpetrated by Adam Lanza, Jared Loughner, James Holmes, and Seung-Hui Cho, these cases were not attributed to the failure of mental health professionals to make early identifications of an individual’s mental illness. Rather, the critical missing factor was any guarantee that such individuals could and would obtain, and remain under, effective psychiatric treatment. The HR 2646 bill aims to fill this void by targeting funding to effective treatment programs while simultaneously focusing resources on authorizing 450 million dollars in block grants to states to serve adults and children with serious mental illnesses. The bill also creates a new position, Assistant Secretary of Mental Health, who would coordinate federal activity and oversee a national registry of programs on mental health.

Nation’s First Major Opioid Bill Reaches President Obama’s Desk (JUL13): With a 92-2 vote in the #Senate and a 407-5 vote in the #House, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) marks Congress’s first-ever attempt to address the quickly escalating public health crisis in the drug abuse epidemic.

For the first time, the legislation recognizes addiction as a disease rather than a law enforcement problem, representing a crucial policy shift supported by public health advocates. It creates the US’ first mandate for doctors to cross-check patients’ opioid history with prescription drug monitoring programs. This applies to doctors who treat patients in the government’s veteran programs, but supporters hope to see the outreach expand across the nation.

Negotiations had continued for almost a year, during which Democrats requested 900 million in federal funding to comprehensively address the crisis. The total amount of federal funding delegated under this measure is 181 million. “At a time when drug overdoses claim 129 American lives every day, it’s painfully clear that we need to do more now,” Senate Majority Leader #MitchMcConnell (R-KY) remarked.

The #WhiteHouse has said that #Obama will sign the bill, even though there remains much additional action and funding to secure in the health care fight.

First GMO Labeling Bill Passes Senate (JUL14): Consumers who want to know if their food contains genetically modified ingredients will now be able to find out this information for the first time. The bill would require most food packages to carry a text label, electronic code, or symbol denoting whether the item contains GMO’s. According to the #WhiteHouse, #Obama will sign the bill.

While the bill met a 306-117 approval in the #House, notable Senators made objections to the measure. Senators #BernieSanders and #PatrickLeahy make the argument that the bill falls short, compared to the existing laws in their respective states.

The measure, the first federal law to require food distributors to provide such labeling, also bans future state labeling laws, so that all 50 states don’t create their own labels and create confusion for food companies, consumers, and farmers.

Pilot’s Bill of Rights & Aviation Bill Aimed at Protecting Soft Targets Passes (JUL13): In the wake of recent extremist attacks on #Brussels and #Istanbul, Congress passed an aviation bill which attempts to close gaps in airport security and streamline screening lines. The bill was passed in the #Senate by a vote of 89-4 and it also extends the Federal Aviation Administration operating through the rest of 2016.

The bill is the most significant airport security measure to reach cloture in Congress in the last decade. While there are still additions to be made, the bill also reserves about half of the air traffic controller spaces at #FAA training academies for qualified veterans and graduates of the collegiate training initiative.

Wednesday’s bill also includes the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 (PBOR 2- S.571), the single most important general aviation bill presently awaiting President Obama’s approval, by JUL15. #PBOR was a component of the National Defense Authorization Act and includes third-class medical reform and legal protections for pilots, a stipulation the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (#AOPA) has been fighting for the last 5 years. The bill will allow pilots who love flying to do so without onerous medical regulations and constitutes a long overdue victory for our nation’s general aviation pilots.

In the years before this bill, as the AOPA notes, many pilots wouldn’t seek treatment for various medical conditions, fearing they would lose the medical certification to fly general aircraft aviation. Under the new legislation, most pilots who’ve held an FAA medical certificate within 10 years of the law being passed won’t need to visit the FAA doctor anymore, unless flying with more than 5 passengers. New pilots will need to conduct an FAA exam once and pilots will still need examinations by their state-licensed doctor once every four years.

Other stipulations of the measure include requiring the FAA to create regulations for marking towers to improve their visibility to lowflying aircrafts, provisions to expand the TSA’s PreCheck program, and stipulations providing fee refunds on lost and delayed baggage.

#Sports

#QueenOfCentreCourt  

On JUL9, #SerenaWilliams left #Wimbledon with two trophies, winning her sixth doubles championship with her older sister #VenusWilliams, just hours after securing the singles title on Centre Court. Serena made tennis history, beating #AngeliqueKerber of #Germany (7-5, 6-3) to tie the legendary Steffi Graf for the most career Open-era Grand Slam wins with 22. The victory also marked the 7th Wimbledon win for the 34-year-old #1 ranked women’s player in the world.

Williams’ singles records now stands behind only Margaret Court, who set the bar at 24 wins. The final marked the first time in a decade that Williams and Kerber met to settle multiple major titles in one season. The German #2 ranked women’s player in the world beat Williams in the Australian Open Final in January, winning her very first Grand Slam.

Williams’ Wimbledon win stands alongside her six championships at the Australian Open, three at the French, and six at the US. True to form, she secured victory with near-impeccable serving, slamming 13 aces, including at least one in each of her first eight service games. Just two days before her loss to Serena, Kerber ousted Venus (6-4, 6-4) in her first Grand Slam semi-final since the 2010 US Open, preventing a sibling matchup in the Wimbledon final.

Win #22 was a long time in the making for Williams. Delayed by her loss to Kerber in Australia and to Gabiñe Muguruza in France last month, Williams admitted, “There are definitely some blurs between eight, nine and 10. I don’t even know where eight, nine and 10 was, or when. I remember one and two. Gets really blurry after that. I will be able to definitely place this one.”

 On JUL10, #SydneyMcLaughlin became the youngest American track athlete, at 16, to compete in the Olympic Games since 1972. She punched her ticket for the #2016RioOlympics with a third place finish at the trials in 54.15 seconds, setting a world junior record in the 400-meter hurdles. Her finish was sixth fastest in the world and she is now the youngest US track and field Olympian since Allyson Felix, who was 18 at the 2004 Athens Games. Up until Sunday, #VashtiCunningham had been the youngest United States Olympian in the sport, scoring her Rio ticket on JUL3.

#Military

 #GatewayToTheMediterranean

On JUL10, #PresidentObama made a trip to Naval Station #Rota, #Spain, known as the Gateway to the Mediterranean, and delivered a speech before more than 2,000 Americans and Spanish service members, marking the first US Presidential Visit to the Iberian country in 15 years (George W. Bush last visited the country in June 2001). During his time in Rota, Obama also visited the USS Ross (DDG 71), an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer that is part of Carrier Strike Group Two.

“To all the Americans who are here, I know it’s never easy serving far away from home — although I must say, if you got to be away from home, this is not a bad place to be. But even in a place as beautiful as this, you’re missing holidays and birthdays and family reunions.  But each and every day, you stand up for our country, and you do it with honor, and you do it with courage, and you do it with commitment.  So on behalf of a grateful nation, let me just say that we’re proud of you.  We honor you.  We thank you for your service, and we thank your inspiring families, as well, for all that they do to make sure that you can do your jobs.”

Obama also stressed the need for closer ties between America and Europe as the region assumes a watchful stance toward Russia. “Russia’s aggression against the Ukraine threatens our vision for a Europe that is at peace,” he said. “A vote in Britain has raised questions about the kind of Europe we are going to see in the years ahead.”

Spain constitutes a site of increased importance for US Military interests, given that the Navy has deployed four ballistic missile defense capable destroyers in Spain and The Marines have a rapid-reaction force in Morón, Spain.

Also during his visit to Spain, Obama met with Spain’s King Felipe VI and the heads of the country’s four main political parties. For almost two years, Spain has been without a government as voters elected a fragmented parliament at the end of last year’s election. Party leaders have proven unsuccessful in forming a coalition.

While President Obama expressed hopes for a unified Spanish government, he added that the US’s relations with Spain are independent of the political party at the head of the nation.

The President cut his planned two-day visit to Spain down to one, in the aftermath of the fatal Dallas shooting that killed 5 officers and wounded seven others in the ambush, on JUL7.

“Look, I’ll be honest, it’s been a tough week back home.  And I’ve had to adjust my schedule…But I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to come and thank all of you for your outstanding service.

I just wrapped up our two days of meetings at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, in Poland.  And obviously it’s a challenging time for all of our countries.  Recent terrorist attacks have shaken America and France and Belgium and Turkey.  Migrants who are seeking refuge, many from war-torn countries, are flocking to Europe.  Russia’s aggression against the Ukraine threatens our vision of a Europe that is at peace.  And a vote in Britain has raised questions about the kind of Europe that we’re going to see in the years ahead.

So on my visit to Europe, what I’ve been trying to communicate, what I’ve been wanting to focus on is America’s relation to Europe and the fact that our commitment will not change.  We have an enduring commitment to the Transatlantic Alliance and to our allies in Europe because you are central to our security, and we could not have a more important alliance or a better set of friends than those of you here in Europe.  That includes a strong and unified Spain — one of our closest allies.”

On JUL14, the #USCoastGuard and #USNavy announced they are joining forces to build a much needed polar ice breaker, given the US’ pressing necessity for a modernized icebreaker which could aid in competition against Russia to gain access to the Arctic and polar region. The joint program would cut the time needed for construction in half. With the support of California Congressman, #DuncanHunter, the joint force is working to build a vessel that can project navigation rights, conduct search and rescue missions, and respond quickly to ecological calamities. The Coast Guard would take more than a decade to build the icebreaker alone. Presently, the Coast Guard’s icebreakers are the Polar Star and the Polar Sea, the latter of which is in dry-dock.

Diplomatic Relations

On JUL9, the #RussianForeignMinistry released a statement that the country expelled two US diplomats in retaliation for a similar ousting against two #Russian diplomats, in the midst of a bizarre disturbance in June between a Russian guard at the entrance to the #– — USEmbassy in Moscow and a US Diplomat. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Deputy Foreign Minister, #SergeiRyabkov, one of the expelled US diplomats was involved in the embassy fracas on June 6 and another was a “CIA operative.” Both diplomats were immediately declared persona non grata.

“We hope that they in #Washington will realize all the viciousness of the aggressive anti-Russia line. If they decide there to move on the path of escalation, they won’t be left without a response,” the statement read. In surveillance video from the embassy melee, the American diplomat and Russian guard scuffle to the ground.”

Stateside, in Washington, #JohnKirby, State Department spokesman, said the two Russian officials were expelled on June 17 in retaliation for beating a US Diplomat in Moscow in June. Kirby said, “We are extremely troubled by the way our employees have been treated over the past couple of years and we’ve raised those concerns at the highest levels. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the American “CIA Officer” refused to provide his identification documents and then attacked the Russian guard, not vice versa. US State Department spokesperson, Elizabeth Trudeau, noted the longstanding problem of harassment of US diplomats by “host government service,” adding that such incidents have increased in frequency in Moscow.

The bizarre conflict stands alongside a backdrop of strains in recent years between #Moscow and #Washington, including the Kremlin’s antagonizing stance in the face of Ukraine, its annexation of the #Crimea, and #US sanctions leveled at Russia.

#National Numbers

#Oil #StockMarket #Jobs #Gold #Silver

On JUL15, the #WhiteHouse projected that the government’s budget deficit for the coming end to the fiscal year will hit 600 billion, up 162 billion from last year’s tally. The White House Office of Management and Budget announced that the 2016 deficit is predicted to be 3.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product.

According to a recently released report by the #Norwegian group, #RystadEnergy, the US holds more oil reserves than #OPEC giants #SaudiArabia and #Venezuela, and #Russia. According to these findings, the US currently holds approximately 264 billion barrels of reserves in existing fields and yet to be discovered fields, compared to 256 billion barrels for Russia and 212 billion barrels for Saudi Arabia. In the US, more than half of the remaining oil reserves are unconventional shale oil with Texas alone holding more than 60 billion barrels of shale oil. According to Rystad, total global oil reserves ring in at about 2092 billion barrels, about 70 times the current production rate of about 30 billion barrels of crude oil per year.

ON JUL15, the US Stock Market finished with mixed results, after a record-setting run, in the aftermath of the most recent #Nice, France terror attack. The #DowJonesIndustrialAverage closed at a record 18,506.41. On JUL14, the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index fell 0.1%, and the #NASDAQ composite finished down 0.1%.

June retail sales rose a convincing 0.6%, surpassing economists’ projections and marking a shift in consumer spending. The weekly jobless claims remained the same, on JUL15, holding at 254,000.

Over the last 30 days, the relationship between silver and gold has been altered drastically, as demand for silver passes all other commodities, following the #BREXIT decision on June 23rd. On JUL12, the gold/silver ratio closed at 65.90, with gold’s premium reaching its lowest point since September 2014, declining 10.6%.

+++ End

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Lima Charlie provides global news, analysis and opinion by military veterans and service members Worldwide.

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[@LimaCharlieNews, with Special Ops Assistance by Nikita Roach]

 

 

 

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