The Daily Astorian | http://www.dailyastorian.com The Daily Astorian Fri, 3 Jul 2015 05:15:42 -0400 en http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/staticimage/images/rss-logo.jpg The Daily Astorian | http://www.dailyastorian.com Udinese presents Ali Adnan as first Iraqi player in Serie A http://www.dailyastorian.com/udinese-presents-ali-adnan-as-first-iraqi-player-in-serie-a-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sportsd6f3028a6a8b4081b7148c1399068fa2 http://www.dailyastorian.com/udinese-presents-ali-adnan-as-first-iraqi-player-in-serie-a-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sportsd6f3028a6a8b4081b7148c1399068fa2#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 05:01:56 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039911 UDINE, Italy (AP) Fullback Ali Adnan Kadhim has been presented as the first Iraqi player in Serie A.

Udinese acquired the 21-year-old Adnan from Turkish club Caykur Rizespor, and signed him to a five-year contract.

Adnan says, "I'm going to give my all to represent my country well, and I hope to do great things for this club."

Adnan was asked about his ties to Iraq's army. He says he's not a member, but that he did take part in an advertisement for the army, adding "I like to represent my country only in football."

He says his idol was Brazil great Roberto Carlos, who was also a fullback.

In 2013, Adnan was named Asia's young footballer of the year after leading Iraq to fourth in the Under-20 World Cup.

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Let's make a deal: mega-mergers drive M&A frenzy http://www.dailyastorian.com/lets-make-a-deal-mega-mergers-drive-ma-frenzy-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world0d80556c272a464fa431514ffbd8baac http://www.dailyastorian.com/lets-make-a-deal-mega-mergers-drive-ma-frenzy-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world0d80556c272a464fa431514ffbd8baac#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 05:01:17 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039933 NEW YORK (AP) Deal makers from New York to London had a busy first half of the year, and mega-mergers drove the frenzy.

Companies around the world announced mergers and acquisitions worth $2.3 trillion, according to figures from data provider Dealogic, the second-best half-year total on record and the highest amount since 2007, when $2.6 trillion of deals were announced.

The tie-ups included 31 deals worth $10 billion or more, accounting for 39 percent of the total. That's the largest share since the second half of 1999, at the peak of the dot-com bubble.

The second half of the year is also off to a hot start, with a $37 billion deal by Aetna Inc. to buy fellow insurer Humana Inc. announced early Friday.

The rush to merge has been driven by low borrowing costs and steady but unspectacular growth in the U.S. economy, which have sent CEOs hunting for new ways to expand sales and boost earnings. Companies from ketchup maker Heinz to oil producer Shell have joined the M&A throng this year.

"The mega-mergers, the big deals, have come back into favor," says Neil Dhar, U.S. capital markets leader at professional services firm PwC.

Of course, what's good for Wall Street isn't necessarily good for Main Street.

Mergers typically push up stock prices at least for the company being acquired and generate healthy fees for the investment banks and law firms that advise on the deals. But they can also mean layoffs and less consumer choice. And there is no guarantee that the deals will work out for investors in the long run.

None of that is slowing the pace of mammoth acquisitions.

Shell's $82 billion purchase of gas company BG Group is the biggest deal announced so far this year. The combination will boost Shell's oil and gas reserves by 25 percent and give it a bigger presence in the fast-growing liquefied natural gas market.

In the U.S., the biggest deal announced is Charter Communications' bid for Time Warner Cable, part of a broader consolidation among cable and media companies as technology and costs shake up the industries. The deal is valued at $80 billion, including debt.

The burst of deals has come against a backdrop of ultra-low interest rates that have reduced the cost of financing transactions for acquirers. The Federal Reserve has kept its benchmark interest rate close to zero for more than six years, making it easier for corporations to borrow cheaply in the bond market.

Even if the Fed increases rates later this year, as many economists expect, the enthusiasm for deals will remain, says Bill Wolfe, a senior vice president at Moody's Investors Service.

"Even with an increase, rates are still going to be relatively low," Wolfe said.

Another reason that deal-making is likely to stay robust is that modest economic growth in the U.S. continues to make it difficult for companies to boost profits on their own.

That's a problem for CEOs, because their pay is typically linked to their ability to increase earnings, says Wolfe. As a result, senior executives have an incentive to do deals and keep their companies growing.

But that can hurt rank-and-file employees who lose their jobs, particularly if a deal involves companies in the same business.

When H.J. Heinz Co., the food company owned by Warren Buffett and Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital, announced its $45 billion acquisition of Kraft Foods in March, it made no specific mention of job cuts. Yet, the companies did say that the deal would generate $1.5 billion in annual savings, coming, in part, from "cost reductions."

"There are a lot of reasons why a larger organization may be more efficient, but there can be a cost to society," said James Angel, associate professor of finance at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. "Efficiency sounds great to the CEO or the shareholders, but if you're the guy who gets the pink slip, that's pretty painful."

For investors, too, deals aren't a sure thing. Company cultures can clash and the most talented employees might become unsettled and leave. Ultimately, if the distractions are protracted enough, it will hurt the bottom line.

One of the biggest flops was AOL's $166 billion takeover of Time Warner, a much-heralded deal announced in 2000.

Soon after the merger, AOL's subscription revenues plunged as broadband connections replaced its dial-up services. That forced Time Warner to absorb billions of dollars in charges to account for the diminishing value of the combined company.

Time Warner ended up spinning off AOL in May 2009, nine years after the tie-up.

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AP Top U.S. News At 8 a.m. EDT http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-us-news-at-8-am-edt-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world52e289012bab4976a2c6666f27fb2de0 http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-us-news-at-8-am-edt-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world52e289012bab4976a2c6666f27fb2de0#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 05:00:32 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039993 Company town? In Seattle, some fret over Amazon's growthThousands truckin' to Chicago for final Grateful Dead showsLet's make a deal: mega-mergers drive M&A frenzyBP to pay record $18.7 billion to states affected by spillSolar-powered plane due to land in Hawaii after 5-day flightOfficials to begin lifting evacuation after train derailmentGimmicks and technology: California learns to save waterBody of prison escapee released to New York funeral home]]> Officials to begin lifting evacuation after train derailment http://www.dailyastorian.com/officials-to-begin-lifting-evacuation-after-train-derailment-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worldb5effe5d551145f380bcbe2b6f16a1f8 http://www.dailyastorian.com/officials-to-begin-lifting-evacuation-after-train-derailment-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worldb5effe5d551145f380bcbe2b6f16a1f8#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 05:01:40 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039924 MARYVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Officials say preparations have begun to allow thousands of eastern Tennessee residents to return to their homes after a CSX train car carrying hazardous material derailed and caught fire.

About 5,000 people within a mile-and-a-half radius of the crash site were evacuated, along with several businesses, Thursday morning in Maryville.

City Manager Greg McClain said Friday morning that officials are working on a plan to lift the evacuation. More details are expected at a news conference at noon Friday.

The concern stemmed from the contents of the car that derailed Wednesday night: liquid acrylonitrile, which officials say is a hazardous material used in multiple industrial processes.

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Solar-powered plane due to land in Hawaii after 5-day flight http://www.dailyastorian.com/solar-powered-plane-due-to-land-in-hawaii-after-5-day-flight-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worlddedd7bf43b934a0ca0ec3ef2b8efc27b http://www.dailyastorian.com/solar-powered-plane-due-to-land-in-hawaii-after-5-day-flight-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worlddedd7bf43b934a0ca0ec3ef2b8efc27b#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 05:01:38 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039920 HONOLULU (AP) An airplane powered by the sun is scheduled to land in Hawaii Friday after a five-day journey across the Pacific from Japan.

The flight is the longest leg of an around-the-world voyage planned by two Swiss pilots who have been taking turns flying the single-seat airplane. It is also the riskiest because the plane has nowhere to land in an emergency.

One of the pilots, Andre Borschberg, broke the record for the longest nonstop solo flight on the way to Hawaii, the team organizing the trip said. He shattered the previous record set by the late U.S. adventurer Steve Fossett, who flew around the world in 76 hours in a specially designed jet in 2006.

"Can you imagine that a solar-powered airplane without fuel can now fly longer than a jet plane?" Bertrand Piccard, the aircraft's other pilot, said in a statement. "This is a clear message that clean technologies can achieve impossible goals."

The plane is visiting Hawaii just as the state has embarked on its own ambitious clean energy project. Gov. David Ige last month signed legislation directing the state's utilities to generate 100 percent of their electricity from renewable energy resources by 2045. Hawaii's utilities currently get 21 percent of their power from renewable sources.

The aircraft is scheduled to land at a small airport outside Honolulu about 6 a.m. (9 a.m. PDT) Friday. Flight officials said the aircraft was arriving in the Hawaii area earlier but would fly in a holding pattern until the scheduled landing time.

Its next destination after leaving the islands is Phoenix, but the departure date hasn't been announced.

The plane began its global voyage in abu Dhabi in March. It has stopped in Oman, India, Myanmar, China and Japan in the months since.

The wings of the carbon fiber aircraft have more than 17,000 solar cells. The plane flies up to about 28,000 feet during the day to recharge its batteries while descending to under 10,000 feet at night to minimize power consumption.

Bad weather is a challenge because the plane isn't designed to withstand rain, turbulence and heavy winds. Diverting around clouds takes extra energy.

The aircraft travels at about the same speeds as an automobile.

The pilots aim to demonstrate the potential of energy efficiency and renewable power with the project. Solar-powered air travel is not yet commercially practical though, given the slow travel time, weather and weight constraints of the aircraft.

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US official: China, US working to end ivory trade http://www.dailyastorian.com/us-official-china-us-working-to-end-ivory-trade-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world792fa46f4d5643edac00f5286ccda137 http://www.dailyastorian.com/us-official-china-us-working-to-end-ivory-trade-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world792fa46f4d5643edac00f5286ccda137#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 04:00:20 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039916 BEIJING (AP) The United States and China want to increase cooperation in fighting wildlife trafficking and are working to end commercial ivory trading, a U.S. Cabinet secretary said Friday.

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell met in Beijing with Vice Premier Wang Yang and Forestry Administration head Zhao Shucong. She said both officials expressed that the Chinese government intends to end ivory trade in China, the world's top market for illegal ivory.

Critics have long argued that the legal ivory market in China has provided a cover for a thriving black market that has been blamed for the poaching of wild African elephants.

Jewell said Beijing has not set a timeline to ban the trade, but wants to close legal loopholes and step up law enforcement in fighting illegal ivory sales before a total ban is feasible.

The United States, also a major market for illegal wildlife products, is getting close to introducing new rules that would ban ivory trading with some exceptions such as documented antiques and ivory products with legal paperwork, Jewell said.

She said cooperation between the world's two largest economies to fight wildlife trafficking is gaining interest and a sense of urgency from both governments and that it could be placed on the agenda when Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with President Barack Obama later this year.

"Both countries are active in addressing this issue," she said.

Her agency also explored possibilities to help increase the number of Chinese visitors to the U.S. national parks, and Beijing was interested in learning from the United States about setting up China's own national park system, Jewell said.

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Rosberg beats Hamilton in 1st practice at British GP http://www.dailyastorian.com/rosberg-beats-hamilton-in-1st-practice-at-british-gp-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sports73973c0e3b6440589785ce795725ddd7 http://www.dailyastorian.com/rosberg-beats-hamilton-in-1st-practice-at-british-gp-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sports73973c0e3b6440589785ce795725ddd7#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 04:00:26 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039914 SILVERTSONE, England (AP) Nico Rosberg posted the fastest time ahead of championship-leading teammate Lewis Hamilton in the first practice session of the British Grand Prix on Friday.

The German driver missed much of the session after going off due to a loss of hydraulic power at Silverstone.

He was 0.07 seconds faster than Hamilton, who is chasing his third victory at his home race, and has a 10-point lead over Rosberg after eight races.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says "maybe it was just software electronics" at fault for Rosberg's problems.

Max Verstappen of Toro Rosso was third quickest, followed by Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari.

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Uber suspends low-cost service in France amid legal pressure http://www.dailyastorian.com/uber-suspends-low-cost-service-in-france-amid-legal-pressure-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world9324341d9e444f8d9586239eec768f6a http://www.dailyastorian.com/uber-suspends-low-cost-service-in-france-amid-legal-pressure-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world9324341d9e444f8d9586239eec768f6a#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 04:00:25 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039915 PARIS (AP) Uber is suspending its low-cost ride-hailing service in France, hoping to defuse an escalating legal dispute and sometimes-violent tensions with traditional French taxi drivers.

The unusual concession comes after the stakes mounted this week in Uber's standoff with France: Two senior European managers for San Francisco-based company were detained Monday and ordered to stand trial, charged with "deceptive commercial practices."

It reflects the broader struggle of governments to keep up with fast-moving technology and how to tax operations like Uber's and protect workers and consumers. Companies like Uber argue that governments are unfairly protecting entrenched industries instead of adapting to the times.

Uber Technologies Inc. has run into legal problems elsewhere in Europe, as well as in China and India.

The French battle centers around Uber's low-cost service, in France called UberPop, which links users to drivers without professional taxi or chauffeur licenses. French authorities had ordered it shut down, but Uber refused, pending a legal decision at a top French court.

Uber France chief Thibaud Simphaud said in an interview published Friday in Le Monde that the company changed its mind "in a spirit of bringing peace" with authorities. An Uber spokesman confirmed to The Associated Press that the service is being suspended starting Friday night.

Simphaud and another European manager for San Francisco-based Uber were detained this week and ordered to stand trial Sept. 30. They are accused of six counts including deceptive commercial practices, complicity in instigating an illegal taxi-driving activity, and the illegal stocking of personal information.

Claiming unfair competition, taxi drivers staged a violence-marred strike last week, blocking many roads across France.

Uber's regular app-based service, which connects registered drivers with riders, continues to function in France. Uber claims to have a total of 400,000 customers a month in France.

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AP Exclusive: China Ministry posted bootleg 'Liar's Poker' http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-exclusive-china-ministry-posted-bootleg-liars-poker-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainmentc56a4160fdef4b1ab2fdf07c468d2143 http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-exclusive-china-ministry-posted-bootleg-liars-poker-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainmentc56a4160fdef4b1ab2fdf07c468d2143#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 04:00:57 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039937 SHANGHAI (AP) A complete bootlegged copy of Michael Lewis' bestselling book about Wall Street, "Liar's Poker," was hosted on the official website of the Chinese Commerce Ministry, the agency responsible for intellectual property protection in China, The Associated Press has found.

How and why a PDF, in English, of Lewis' raucous memoir about the excesses of Wall Street in the 1980s ended up on the ministry's site remains a mystery. The ministry did not respond to multiple requests for comment this week, but on Friday removed the page from its website.

China has a long and troubled history with copyright infringement. Despite high-level attempts to bolster enforcement, particularly as Beijing turns to innovation as a source of economic growth, piracy remains rampant and widely tolerated.

Andrew Hay, director of security research at OpenDNS, a network security firm based in San Francisco, confirmed the file was hosted on the Ministry of Commerce website and was not a spoof.

Internet registry records show that the website was created in 2003 by the ministry's Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Department. The pirated copy of "Liar's Poker" which had been available at http://images.mofcom.gov.cn/kjxh/accessory/200801/1201672069708.pdf was created in 2006, according to metadata embedded in the PDF file. The pirated e-book has been lurking on the ministry's website since at least 2008, according to the San Francisco-based Internet Archive, which preserves copies of old websites.

It isn't clear whether whoever uploaded the pirated book to the ministry's servers meant for it to be seen across the Web, but it's clear many have noticed and downloaded it since. One message board user included a link to the ministry's website in a 2013 post entitled, "Best Business Books."

The "Liar's Poker" PDF on the ministry's website carried a banner ad for a Chinese website called www.gushow.com , which offers free downloads of bootlegged books, including Chinese translations of books by George Soros.

Lei Geng, who runs www.gushow.com , said he was surprised his company was advertised on the ministry's website.

"Before you called me I had no idea my website's ad was on the Ministry of Commerce website," he said. Lei said that he downloaded PDFs of the bootlegged books he distributes from Baidu, China's most widely used search engine.

Asked whether he was aware that it is illegal to distribute copyrighted material for free, he said, "Don't pretend that you find this unusual."

The Commerce Ministry is not the only place to offer free copies of Lewis' book in China. The AP was able to find three bootlegged copies of "Liar's Poker" on Baidu Library, a document sharing platform, and one on Baidu's cloud storage platform. Together, they had been read by over 500 people.

"Those should not be there," said Baidu spokesman Kaiser Kuo. Once the copyright holder reports the infringement, Baidu will "remove them with alacrity," he said. "If Michael Lewis' publisher would contact us, it would be great."

In 2012, a Chinese court ordered Baidu to pay 145,000 yuan ($23,350) compensation to three best-selling Chinese authors for copyright infringement.

Since then, Baidu has stepped up copyright enforcement, instating 999-character limits on uploads to Baidu Library and working closely with publishers to flag infringing content.

Dorothy Cook, who is responsible for international sales at W.W. Norton & Co., which publishes "Liar's Poker," said Thursday night that she had alerted the department that handles copyright violations and take-down notices of the infringing content pointed out by the AP. "We've already reported this and are trying to get them taken down," she said. "It's a perennial problem."

The 25th anniversary edition of "Liar's Poker" sells for 201 yuan ($32.00) on Amazon China.

___

Satter contributed from London.

___

Follow Kinetz on Twitter at twitter.com/ekinetz and Satter at twitter.com/razhael

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AP Top Entertainment News At 6:46 a.m. EDT http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-entertainment-news-at-646-am-edt-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainment64b4974ad8794062be2aa36e59e45c4a http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-entertainment-news-at-646-am-edt-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainment64b4974ad8794062be2aa36e59e45c4a#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 04:00:50 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039938 Hispanic leaders say Republican Party must condemn TrumpRarely seen color photos by Robert Capa in Budapest exhibitThousands truckin' to Chicago for final Grateful Dead showsAPNewsBreak: New details on alleged Emile Hirsch assault'Shark Week' returns for 28th year with first Cuban visitReigning Miss Universe rebukes Trump for his migrant remarksReelz rescues Miss USA pageant, dropped by NBC in Trump flapBritish police end Peaches Geldof heroin inquiry]]> British police end Peaches Geldof heroin inquiry http://www.dailyastorian.com/british-police-end-peaches-geldof-heroin-inquiry-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainment0ac656cc05c9432db0a157d184aa2d8b http://www.dailyastorian.com/british-police-end-peaches-geldof-heroin-inquiry-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainment0ac656cc05c9432db0a157d184aa2d8b#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 04:01:44 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039913 LONDON (AP) British police say they have closed an investigation into who supplied Peaches Geldof with the heroin that killed her.

The 25-year-old TV personality, daughter of Live Aid organizer Bob Geldof, was found dead at her home outside London on April 7, 2014.

Police discovered heroin and syringes in the house, and a coroner ruled that Geldof had died from a heroin overdose after relapsing from a battle to give up the drug.

Police said Friday that they had "exhausted all lines of inquiry" into who had supplied the drugs.

Detective Superintendent Paul Fotheringham of Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said detectives would review the case if new evidence emerged.

Geldof's mother, Paula Yates, died of a heroin overdose in 2000, when Peaches was 11.

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Rarely seen color photos by Robert Capa in Budapest exhibit http://www.dailyastorian.com/rarely-seen-color-photos-by-robert-capa-in-budapest-exhibit-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainment5577aac7c5e24a10afada3645a086781 http://www.dailyastorian.com/rarely-seen-color-photos-by-robert-capa-in-budapest-exhibit-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainment5577aac7c5e24a10afada3645a086781#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 04:01:08 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039917 BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) Rarely seen color photographs by Robert Capa, the legendary Hungarian photographer best known for his battlefield pictures from the Spanish Civil War and D-Day, are being shown for the first time in Europe at the Budapest institution which bears his name.

Capa, born Endre Friedmann in Budapest in 1913, began experimenting with color photography in 1938 and it soon became an integral, though seldom published, part of his work. . Afterward, he always carried two cameras, one loaded with color film, the other with black and white.

"This allows a very good comparison and how he approaches color photography in a totally different manner," said Istvan Viragvolgyi, deputy director of the Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center. "He turns his camera in other directions, looking for themes where color really adds a lot to it."

The exhibit containing 136 color photographs, as well as film and sound recordings of Capa, runs until Sep. 20 and was first shown last year in New York, at the International Center of Photography founded by Cornell Capa, Robert's late brother.

Consisting mostly of photos taken in peacetime, it includes pictures for a 1947 magazine feature about the Soviet Union written by John Steinbeck; Hollywood stars like Humphrey Bogart, Orson Wells and Ingrid Bergman on location; a series on post-World War II youth called Generation X, a term often attributed to Capa; Israel soon after its 1948 creation; and playful images of Pablo Picasso rejected by a magazine in favor of similar pictures in black and white.

"He is one of the most humanist photographers who worked on the battlefields," said Zoltan Szalay, an award-winning Hungarian photographer.

Some of the originals in the collection of 4,200 color slides had faded over the decades and were digitally restored.

"We can see how easily he adapted the new techniques and immediately delved into color photography," Viragvolgyi said. "He did not hesitate. He always went forward."

For Viragvolgyi, Capa's legacy for photographers revolves around his continual renewal, which "is needed not only today but was indispensable already 70 years ago."

Capa was killed by a land mine in 1954 while covering the Indochina War in what is now Vietnam.

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Insurer Aetna agrees to buy competitor Humana in deal valued at $37B http://www.dailyastorian.com/insurer-aetna-agrees-to-buy-competitor-humana-in-deal-valued-at-37b-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world573cc51f4b8c42e0933f76c1e1af1a7a http://www.dailyastorian.com/insurer-aetna-agrees-to-buy-competitor-humana-in-deal-valued-at-37b-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world573cc51f4b8c42e0933f76c1e1af1a7a#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 03:00:38 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039921 HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Insurer Aetna agrees to buy competitor Humana in deal valued at $37B.

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Nicolas Anelka to manage as well as play for Mumbai City http://www.dailyastorian.com/nicolas-anelka-to-manage-as-well-as-play-for-mumbai-city-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sports4707a91394ac4b14ad83fe5ab2f97b0c http://www.dailyastorian.com/nicolas-anelka-to-manage-as-well-as-play-for-mumbai-city-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sports4707a91394ac4b14ad83fe5ab2f97b0c#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 03:01:53 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039919 MUMBAI, India (AP) Former France striker Nicolas Anelka agreed to player-manage Mumbai City on Friday in his second season with the Indian Super League club.

It will be Anelka's second dual stint, as he also player-managed Shanghai Shenhua three years ago.

"Last year, he impressed us all with his tactical knowledge and excellent motivational skills," Mumbai City co-owner Ranbir Kapoor said. "It's a role both parties have been discussing for a couple of months, and it's been a great start. We will provide Nicolas all the support required to try and win the league this year."

Anelka appeared in the second half of the ISL's inaugural season, and scored twice with two assists, as Mumbai City finished seventh in the eight-team league.

The second season begins on Oct. 3.

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AP Top News At 6 a.m. EDT http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-news-at-6-am-edt-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world049f674b7102442197cc6d3cb1978634 http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-news-at-6-am-edt-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world049f674b7102442197cc6d3cb1978634#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 03:00:40 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039936 Hispanic leaders say Republican Party must condemn TrumpCould insulin pills prevent diabetes? Big study seeks answerSolar-powered plane due to land in Hawaii after 5-day flightCompany town? In Seattle, some fret over Amazon's growthLet's make a deal: mega-mergers drive M&A frenzyThousands truckin' to Chicago for final Grateful Dead showsThe Latest: Eurozone economy 'holds up' despite Greek crisisRussian supply ship launched to International Space Station]]> Berlusconi demands AC Milan return to Champions League http://www.dailyastorian.com/berlusconi-demands-ac-milan-return-to-champions-league-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sports040620198ec44973a29271e80fac9e72 http://www.dailyastorian.com/berlusconi-demands-ac-milan-return-to-champions-league-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sports040620198ec44973a29271e80fac9e72#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 03:01:55 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039918 MILAN (AP) AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi has demanded new coach Sinisa Mihajlovic to lead the club back into the Champions League.

Two weeks after hiring him, Berlusconi officially presented Mihajlovic on Friday as Milan opened its preseason training camp.

The former Italian premier says, "It's categorically imperative that Milan return to the Champions League and Europe next season."

Since winning Serie A in 2011, Milan has been in a downward spiral linked to less spending by Berlusconi. The Rossoneri finished eighth and 10th in the past two seasons, failing to qualify for Europe each time.

Mihajlovic, who played for Inter Milan, says that while he has no past history with the club, "I often played against Milan, so I know how much respect this shirt represents."

Mihajlovic signed a two-year contract.

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BP to pay record $18.7 billion to states affected by spill http://www.dailyastorian.com/bp-to-pay-record-187-billion-to-states-affected-by-spill-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world04245e74c8a947c3b6b4a11fead7bff5 http://www.dailyastorian.com/bp-to-pay-record-187-billion-to-states-affected-by-spill-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world04245e74c8a947c3b6b4a11fead7bff5#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 05:01:33 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039912 NEW ORLEANS (AP) More than five years after the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history fouled beaches, coated seabirds in thick goo and threatened delicate marshes, BP has agreed to pay a record settlement to affected states in hopes of bringing an end to a legal drama that has cost the company billions.

BP and five coastal states announced a deal Thursday to provide $18.7 billion in new money to the states. The company said the settlement would bring its full obligations to an estimated $53.8 billion.

The Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 rig workers and spewed millions of gallons of crude.

Federal and state government officials touted the record-breaking agreement as a historic milestone in the Gulf Coast's recovery although some environmental groups and local officials indicated BP should have paid even more.

The settlement also provides BP with a valuable return: Much of the payments, to be made over the next 18 years, could be tax-deductible. In addition, the London-based oil giant is freer to embark on new ventures now that it is finally able to provide shareholders with a clearer cost picture.

"This allows us to manage BP as an oil company," company CEO Bob Dudley said during a conference call. He said BP could launch as many as 20 major new projects by 2020, depending on oil prices.

The Justice Department said Thursday's agreement would be the largest environmental settlement in U.S. history as well as the largest-ever civil settlement with a single entity. Civil claims by the five Gulf states and the federal government were, by far, the largest unresolved piece of BP's financial obligations for the spill.

BP's total spill-related cost estimate includes roughly $29 billion for response and cleanup expenses and compensation for Gulf Coast businesses and residents.

"It's definitely a win for BP. No company can really do well when you have such a big litigation issue hanging over it," said Brian Youngberg, an energy analyst for Edward Jones.

In 2012, BP reached a similar settlement agreement with private attorneys for businesses and residents who claim the spill cost them money. That deal, which didn't have a cap, led to a protracted court battle over subsequent payouts to businesses. A court-supervised claims administrator is still processing many of these claims.

The broad outlines of the deal announced Thursday were described in the court filing, but a confidentiality order is keeping the fine print under seal. Eventually, there will be a public comment period on the agreement's merits before a federal judge decides whether to accept it, the Justice Department said.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, who presided over a three-phased trial, already found BP grossly negligent in the nearly 134 million-gallon spill.

While analysts praised the announcement, some environmental advocates complained that government officials should have held out for more money.

"The court should not let BP get off the hook without fully compensating Americans for what was lost. A low-end settlement ... would not only cheat the public, but it would send the wrong message to BP and the other companies that drill in our oceans," said Jacqueline Savitz, U.S. vice president for Oceana, a group dedicated to protecting the world's oceans.

Investors pushed BP shares up 5 percent in late afternoon trading.

By staggering payments over 18 years, the deal would enable BP to pay dividends to shareholders and have enough financial flexibility for future deals and projects. The total is larger than BP had provisioned for, but without a settlement, the company faced still-larger Clean Water Act penalties as well as possible other payments.

David Uhlmann, a University of Michigan law professor and former chief of the Justice Department's environmental crimes section, said BP's total price tag is "staggering" but includes many tax-deductible costs.

The hefty costs will likely make deep-water drillers a lot more careful, he said.

"No company will ever conduct deep-water drilling in the way that BP did prior to the Gulf oil spill," Uhlman said.

The criminal and civil penalties BP has agreed to pay are not tax-deductible, but restitution and other business expenses often are.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the settlement "would bring lasting benefits to the Gulf region for generations to come." The deal includes $8.1 billion in payments to state and local governments in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas for natural resource damage. It also includes a $5.5 billion Clean Water Act penalty, most of which the states would share.

Louisiana suffered most of the spill's environmental impact and would get the largest share, at least $6.8 billion.

Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said litigation could have dragged on for years. "Today's settlement is a game-changer for Louisiana, its communities and its families," he said.

Not everyone was onboard.

The settlement covers "the vast majority of local governmental entities" in the five states. But the government of one of Louisiana's hardest-hit areas, coastal Plaquemines Parish, says it has not yet agreed, raising questions about whether BP could still face at least some legal hurdles.

Without saying how much it was offered or how much it seeks, the parish said it wants to be able to rebuild pelican nesting grounds and recover millions of dollars in spill-related administrative costs.

The agreement leaves a handful of other, relatively minor loose ends for BP, including claims by people who either opted out or were not covered by the 2012 settlement with private lawyers.

The April 2010 blowout of BP's Macondo well also spawned a federal criminal probe that resulted in manslaughter charges against two rig supervisors whose trial is set for next year.

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Contributors include Associated Press writers Jonathan Fahey in New York; Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Emily Wagster Pettus in Jackson, Mississippi; Tamara Lush in Tampa, Florida; and Kim Chandler in Montgomery, Alabama.

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Hispanic leaders say Republican Party must condemn Trump http://www.dailyastorian.com/hispanic-leaders-say-republican-party-must-condemn-trump-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainmentd7fd3852efb646109893755fcc32933f http://www.dailyastorian.com/hispanic-leaders-say-republican-party-must-condemn-trump-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainmentd7fd3852efb646109893755fcc32933f#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 03:02:33 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039928 WASHINGTON (AP) Hispanic leaders are warning of harm to Republican White House hopes unless the party's presidential contenders do more to condemn Donald Trump, a businessman turned presidential candidate who's refusing to apologize for calling Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers.

Trump's comments, delivered in his announcement speech last month, have haunted the GOP for much of the last two weeks and dominated Spanish-language media. It's bad timing for a Republican Party that has invested significantly in Hispanic outreach in recent years, given the surging influence of the minority vote.

Yet several Republican candidates have avoided the issue altogether, while those who have weighed in have declined to criticize Trump as strongly as many Hispanic leaders would like.

"The time has come for the candidates to distance themselves from Trump and call his comments what they are: ludicrous, baseless and insulting," said Alfonso Aguilar, a Republican who leads the American Principles Project's Latino Partnership. "Sadly, it hurts the party with Hispanic voters. It's a level of idiocy I haven't seen in a long time."

The political and practical Trump-related fallout has intensified in recent days.

The leading Hispanic television network, Univision, has backed out of televising the Miss USA pageant, a joint venture between Trump and NBC, which also cut ties with Trump. On Wednesday, the Macy's department store chain, which carried a Donald Trump menswear line, said it was ending its relationship with him. Other retailers are facing pressure to follow suit.

The reaction from Republican presidential candidates, however, has often been far less aggressive.

In a recent interview on Fox News, conservative firebrand Ted Cruz insisted that Trump should not apologize.

"I like Donald Trump," said Cruz, a Texas senator who is Hispanic. "I think he's terrific. I think he's brash. I think he speaks the truth. And I think that NBC is engaging in political correctness that is silly and that is wrong."

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said simply that Trump is "wrong."

"Maybe we'll have a chance to have an honest discussion about it on stage," Bush said last weekend while campaigning in Nevada.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who often talks about his re-election margins with Latino voters, called Trump's comments "wholly inappropriate" during a news conference. In a subsequent radio interview, Christie described Trump as "a really wonderful guy (who's) always been a good friend."

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, silent on the issue for more than two weeks, took a more pointed tone in a statement Thursday evening. "Trump's comments are not just offensive and inaccurate, but also divisive," said Rubio, a Hispanic. "Our next president needs to be someone who brings Americans together not someone who continues to divide."

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Thursday: "I don't think Donald Trump's remarks reflect the Republican Party."

Among others, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former technology executive Carly Fiorina and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson have been silent.

"We're listening very, very closely, not just what candidates say but what they don't say the sins of commission and the sins of omission," said Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, who called Trump's comments "xenophobic rhetoric."

Trump is showing no sign of backing down.

"My statements have been contorted to seem racist and discriminatory," he wrote in a message to supporters on Thursday. "What I want is for legal immigrants to not be unfairly punished because others are coming into America illegally, flooding the labor market and not paying taxes."

"You can count on me to keep fighting," he continued.

In his announcement speech, Trump said Mexican immigrants are "bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

Such rhetoric resonates with some of the Republican Party's most passionate voters, who have long viewed illegal immigration as one of the nation's most pressing problems. Yet GOP leaders have urged conservatives to adopt a more welcoming tone in recent years as Hispanic voters increasingly sided with Democrats.

Not since the 2004 re-election campaign of President George W. Bush has a Republican presidential candidate earned as much as 40 percent of the Hispanic vote. Mitt Romney got a dismal 27 percent in the 2012 contest against President Barack Obama.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton cast Trump's remarks as "emblematic" of a larger perception within the Republican Party.

"A recent entry into the Republican presidential campaign said some very inflammatory things about Mexican immigrants," she said in an interview last month. "Everyone should stand up and say that's not acceptable."

Meanwhile, the attention has helped Trump sell some books. "Trump: The Art of the Deal," first published in 1987, and a release from 2007, "Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life," were both in the top 2,000 on Amazon.com's best-seller list as of midday Thursday. "Think Big," co-written by Bill Zanker, was Amazon's top seller for personal finance.

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Associated Press writers Ken Thomas in Washington, Hillel Italie in New York and Jill Colvin in Ashland, New Hampshire, contributed to this report.

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Hispanic leaders say Republican Party must condemn Trump http://www.dailyastorian.com/hispanic-leaders-say-republican-party-must-condemn-trump-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worldd7fd3852efb646109893755fcc32933f http://www.dailyastorian.com/hispanic-leaders-say-republican-party-must-condemn-trump-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worldd7fd3852efb646109893755fcc32933f#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 03:01:06 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039935 WASHINGTON (AP) Hispanic leaders are warning of harm to Republican White House hopes unless the party's presidential contenders do more to condemn Donald Trump, a businessman turned presidential candidate who's refusing to apologize for calling Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers.

Trump's comments, delivered in his announcement speech last month, have haunted the GOP for much of the last two weeks and dominated Spanish-language media. It's bad timing for a Republican Party that has invested significantly in Hispanic outreach in recent years, given the surging influence of the minority vote.

Yet several Republican candidates have avoided the issue altogether, while those who have weighed in have declined to criticize Trump as strongly as many Hispanic leaders would like.

"The time has come for the candidates to distance themselves from Trump and call his comments what they are: ludicrous, baseless and insulting," said Alfonso Aguilar, a Republican who leads the American Principles Project's Latino Partnership. "Sadly, it hurts the party with Hispanic voters. It's a level of idiocy I haven't seen in a long time."

The political and practical Trump-related fallout has intensified in recent days.

The leading Hispanic television network, Univision, has backed out of televising the Miss USA pageant, a joint venture between Trump and NBC, which also cut ties with Trump. On Wednesday, the Macy's department store chain, which carried a Donald Trump menswear line, said it was ending its relationship with him. Other retailers are facing pressure to follow suit.

The reaction from Republican presidential candidates, however, has often been far less aggressive.

In a recent interview on Fox News, conservative firebrand Ted Cruz insisted that Trump should not apologize.

"I like Donald Trump," said Cruz, a Texas senator who is Hispanic. "I think he's terrific. I think he's brash. I think he speaks the truth. And I think that NBC is engaging in political correctness that is silly and that is wrong."

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said simply that Trump is "wrong."

"Maybe we'll have a chance to have an honest discussion about it on stage," Bush said last weekend while campaigning in Nevada.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who often talks about his re-election margins with Latino voters, called Trump's comments "wholly inappropriate" during a news conference. In a subsequent radio interview, Christie described Trump as "a really wonderful guy (who's) always been a good friend."

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, silent on the issue for more than two weeks, took a more pointed tone in a statement Thursday evening. "Trump's comments are not just offensive and inaccurate, but also divisive," said Rubio, a Hispanic. "Our next president needs to be someone who brings Americans together not someone who continues to divide."

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Thursday: "I don't think Donald Trump's remarks reflect the Republican Party."

Among others, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former technology executive Carly Fiorina and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson have been silent.

"We're listening very, very closely, not just what candidates say but what they don't say the sins of commission and the sins of omission," said Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, who called Trump's comments "xenophobic rhetoric."

Trump is showing no sign of backing down.

"My statements have been contorted to seem racist and discriminatory," he wrote in a message to supporters on Thursday. "What I want is for legal immigrants to not be unfairly punished because others are coming into America illegally, flooding the labor market and not paying taxes."

"You can count on me to keep fighting," he continued.

In his announcement speech, Trump said Mexican immigrants are "bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

Such rhetoric resonates with some of the Republican Party's most passionate voters, who have long viewed illegal immigration as one of the nation's most pressing problems. Yet GOP leaders have urged conservatives to adopt a more welcoming tone in recent years as Hispanic voters increasingly sided with Democrats.

Not since the 2004 re-election campaign of President George W. Bush has a Republican presidential candidate earned as much as 40 percent of the Hispanic vote. Mitt Romney got a dismal 27 percent in the 2012 contest against President Barack Obama.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton cast Trump's remarks as "emblematic" of a larger perception within the Republican Party.

"A recent entry into the Republican presidential campaign said some very inflammatory things about Mexican immigrants," she said in an interview last month. "Everyone should stand up and say that's not acceptable."

Meanwhile, the attention has helped Trump sell some books. "Trump: The Art of the Deal," first published in 1987, and a release from 2007, "Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life," were both in the top 2,000 on Amazon.com's best-seller list as of midday Thursday. "Think Big," co-written by Bill Zanker, was Amazon's top seller for personal finance.

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Associated Press writers Ken Thomas in Washington, Hillel Italie in New York and Jill Colvin in Ashland, New Hampshire, contributed to this report.

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Greece: Poll shows 2 sides neck and neck before referendum http://www.dailyastorian.com/greece-poll-shows-2-sides-neck-and-neck-before-referendum-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world3b1b8595f58246c88de9689051fb1404 http://www.dailyastorian.com/greece-poll-shows-2-sides-neck-and-neck-before-referendum-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world3b1b8595f58246c88de9689051fb1404#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 03:00:50 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039965 ATHENS, Greece (AP) The brief but intense campaign in Greece's critical bailout referendum ends Friday, with simultaneous rallies in Athens supporting "yes" and "no" answers to a murky question in what an opinion poll suggests could be a very close vote.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called the referendum last weekend, asking Greeks to decide whether to accept creditors' proposals for more austerity in exchange for more loans even though those proposals are no longer on the table.

Tsipras is advocating a "no" vote on Sunday, saying it would give him a mandate to negotiate a better deal for Greece within the eurozone. Opposition parties, and many European officials, say a "no" vote would drive Greece out of the euro and into an even more impoverished future.

A poll conducted Tuesday and Wednesday and published in the newspaper To Ethnos on Friday showed the two sides in a dead heat. It also showed an overwhelming majority 74 percent want the country to remain in Europe's joint currency, the euro, compared to 15 percent who want a national currency.

Of the 1,000 respondents to the nationwide survey by the ALCO polling firm, 41.5 percent will vote "yes" and 40.2 percent "no," well within the margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. Another 10.9 percent were undecided and the rest said they would abstain or leave their ballots blank.

Both sides were trying to pull ahead in rallies Friday evening, to be held 800 meters (875 yards) apart in central Athens. Tsipras was speaking at the "no" rally in the capital's main Syntagma Square outside Parliament, while "yes" supporters were gathering at the nearby Panathenian Stadium, where the first modern Olympics were held in 1894.

The vote could be the most important in Greece's modern history, but the question is unclear and many voters are confused about what's at stake. The Council of State, the country's highest administrative court, is to rule Friday on a motion brought by two private citizens asking the court to rule the referendum illegal.

Much of the ambiguity arises from the complicated question that will be printed on the ballot paper:

"Must the agreement plan be accepted which was submitted by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to the Eurogroup of 25 June, 2015, and is comprised of two parts which make up their joint proposal? The first document is titled 'reforms for the completion of the current program and beyond' and the second 'Preliminary debt sustainability analysis.'"

Voters are asked to check one of two boxes: "not approved/no" and below it "approved/yes."

Apostolos Foutsitzis, a 43-year-old medical scanner operator in the northern city of Thessaloniki, said we is confused by the question but plans to vote "yes" because he wants Greece to remain in Europe.

"The referendum is unclear in the way it is being phrased, so I interpret this ambiguity as meaning we might stay in Europe or not," he said.

During the entire week-long campaigning Greek banks have been closed to staunch a run, with cash machines allowing people daily withdrawals of up to 60 euros ($67) although in practice this has been reduced to 50 euros as most machines have run out of 20-euro notes.

Some banks have opened to let pensioners without ATM cards withdraw up to 120 euros a week, with crowds of elderly people waiting outside the doors for hours. Tsipras has described the measures as temporary.

"Our efforts are focused on overcoming the crisis as fast as possible, with a solution that preserves the dignity and sovereignty of our people," he said Thursday.

The 40-year-old prime minister argues that a strong "no" vote will help Greece win a new deal with the eurozone's rescue mechanism that would include terms to reduce the country's 320 billion-euro national debt and to make payments on it more sustainable. He insists a deal could be struck "within 48 hours" of the vote.

His argument, however, was dismissed by the head of the eurozone finance ministers' group, Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem.

"That suggestion is simply wrong," Dijsselbloem told Dutch lawmakers.

French President Francois Hollande agreed that Tsipras' interpretation is flawed.

"The consequences are not the same if it's a 'yes' or 'no,'" he said. "If it's the 'yes,' even if it's on the basis of proposals that have already expired, negotiations can resume and I imagine be quickly concluded. We are in something of an unknown. It's up to the Greeks to respond."

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Online: Official referendum website http://www.referendum2015gov.gr/en/

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Costas Kantouris in Thessaloniki and Derek Gatopoulos in Athens contributed to this report.

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Follow Becatoros on Twitter on https://twitter.com/ElenaBec

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Copa America: Argentina, Chile trying to end title drought http://www.dailyastorian.com/copa-america-argentina-chile-trying-to-end-title-drought-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sportsec31030d08c34b8aa3ec93672c2e7658 http://www.dailyastorian.com/copa-america-argentina-chile-trying-to-end-title-drought-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sportsec31030d08c34b8aa3ec93672c2e7658#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 02:02:11 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039923 SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) Not just the Copa America will end when Argentina and Chile meet in the final on Saturday.

So will decades of disappointment for the champion at the Estadio Nacional in Santiago.

Host Chile has never won the title in the Copa's 99-year history.

Argentina has gone 22 years without lifting a major trophy.

The winner will celebrate an historic achievement.

The loser will be left wondering how much longer the title drought will last.

Victory would also be extra special for Lionel Messi, who has thrived with Barcelona for years but has yet to give his national team much reason to celebrate. If Messi can finally lead his team to the title, he will be silencing many of the critics who say he has never played as well with the national team as he does with his club.

Argentina hasn't won a significant trophy since the 1993 Copa America, when Messi was only six years old. Since then, it has failed in seven Copa Americas and six World Cups, with Messi playing in five of those tournaments. The playmaker helped Argentina's Under-23s win the Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Games in Beijing, but he still has nothing to show when it comes to the senior squad.

Argentina came close to breaking through for a major title when it reached the World Cup final in Brazil last year, losing 1-0 to Germany in extra time. It was eliminated in the quarterfinals in 2006 and 2010. The Argentines lost consecutive Copa America finals to Brazil in 2004 and 2007. In the 2011 tournament at home, Argentina didn't make it past the quarterfinals.

"We are stubborn," Argentina defensive midfielder Javier Mascherano said. "We keep trying to win one of these championships. Hopefully, it will finally happen on Saturday."

If it does happen, Argentina will win a 15th Copa America, tying Uruguay as the tournament's most successful team.

Argentina is brimming with confidence after trouncing Paraguay 6-1 in the semifinals, when Messi didn't score but helped set up five goals, a performance reminiscent of the ones he constantly pulls off with Barcelona.

For Chile, hosting the event has given it the best chance yet to break through for a major championship.

"For a lot of people, it would be enough to have reached the final," said Claudio Bravo, the Chile goalkeeper and most experienced player ever with nearly 100 caps. "What could be better than winning the Copa America playing at home?"

Chile has one of its best generations of players. Argentine coach Jorge Sampaoli leads a team including Juventus teammates Arturo Vidal and Mauricio Isla, Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez, Napoli striker Eduardo Vargas, Inter Milan defensive midfielder Gary Medel, Fiorentina attacking midfielder Matias Fernandez, and Palmeiras playmaker Jorge Valdivia.

They are keen to rub out memories of four previous runner-up finishes, including at home in 1955.

"We are committed to reaching the next level," Chile defender Eugenio Mena said. "We want to win this tournament once and for all."

Chile has the tournament's best offense with 13 goals in five matches. The defense hasn't been as perfect, conceding five goals, and will need to improve to keep out Argentina's imposing array of scoring options.

"We are not afraid," Bravo said. "The word 'fear' hasn't been spoken by any of my teammates. This is something only (the media) is talking about."

Chile, which defeated 10-man Peru in the semifinals, will be without defender Gonzalo Jara, who was suspended from the tournament after provoking Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani by poking his behind in the quarterfinals. Vidal, who crashed his car while driving drunk a day after one of the group matches, is set to play after being allowed to stay with the squad.

Argentina coach Gerardo Martino may not be able to count on defender Ezequiel Garay, who has been nursing a stomach illness.

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EU leaders unlikely to attend Chinese military parade http://www.dailyastorian.com/eu-leaders-unlikely-to-attend-chinese-military-parade-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worldd805415f3bb3497bb8a7e27453725521 http://www.dailyastorian.com/eu-leaders-unlikely-to-attend-chinese-military-parade-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worldd805415f3bb3497bb8a7e27453725521#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 02:00:41 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039927 BEIJING (AP) The European Union's ambassador to Beijing says top officials from the organization are unlikely to attend a Chinese military parade marking the anniversary of the end of World War II in Asia, amid uneasiness about such displays of armed might in the tense region.

Hans Dietmar Schweisgut said Friday that questions remain about whether the event will encourage reconciliation or further stir resentment, a reference to China's ongoing feud with Japan over wartime history and competing claims to islands in the East China Sea.

So far, only Russia has confirmed it will take part in the Sept. 3 parade.

Sensitivities also surround the venue for the event Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing where the Chinese army conducted a bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in 1989.

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UK ex-diplomat says Hong Kong relocation 'plan' was joke http://www.dailyastorian.com/uk-ex-diplomat-says-hong-kong-relocation-plan-was-joke-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world40c2cc079a214826b9d4e335825dbd9b http://www.dailyastorian.com/uk-ex-diplomat-says-hong-kong-relocation-plan-was-joke-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world40c2cc079a214826b9d4e335825dbd9b#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 02:00:43 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039925 LONDON (AP) A former British diplomat says a bizarre plan to relocate the entire population of Hong Kong to Northern Ireland was a joke between government officials.

David Snoxell says he's shocked that anyone took his exchange of letters with fellow diplomat George Fergusson seriously.

Snoxell says the exchange revealed Friday in a release of 1983 documents by the National Archives "relieved some of the tension" at a time when Northern Ireland was wracked by insecurity following hunger strikes by republican prisoners.

The idea also illustrated anxieties at the time about Hong Kong's future. Then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had begun talks with China on the subject in 1982.

The letters showed the officials joking about resettling 5.5 million Hong Kong people in a newly built "city-state" between Coleraine and Londonderry.

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Thailand's only known MERS patient is virus-free http://www.dailyastorian.com/thailands-only-known-mers-patient-is-virus-free-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world80bb7bad7d8246e4b12b4ce83c2f393b http://www.dailyastorian.com/thailands-only-known-mers-patient-is-virus-free-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world80bb7bad7d8246e4b12b4ce83c2f393b#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 02:00:42 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039926 BANGKOK (AP) Thailand's health ministry says a 75-year-old Omani man who became Thailand's only known case of the often-deadly MERS virus is now free of the illness.

The ministry said Friday that five laboratory tests showed negative results for the disease.

The man had traveled to Bangkok last month for treatment of a heart condition and was then diagnosed with the virus. He was quarantined and treated at the ministry's infectious diseases facility.

The statement says three relatives who traveled with the man show no sign of having contracted the virus.

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The Latest: Eurozone economy 'holds up' despite Greek crisis http://www.dailyastorian.com/the-latest-eurozone-economy-holds-up-despite-greek-crisis-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world3393aa2d50cd44668bf38d0b59e2edf8 http://www.dailyastorian.com/the-latest-eurozone-economy-holds-up-despite-greek-crisis-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world3393aa2d50cd44668bf38d0b59e2edf8#Comments Fri, 3 Jul 2015 03:01:48 -0400 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015307039946 ATHENS, Greece (AP) The latest news on Greece's financial woes (all times local):

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11:04 a.m.

Greece's economic partners in the 19-country eurozone appear to be withstanding the escalation of the Greek debt crisis, with business activity rising to a four-year high in the second-quarter of the year, according to financial information company Markit.

Its purchasing managers' index a broad gauge of business activity rose to 54.4 in June from 53.6 the previous month. June's figure took the average index reading for the second quarter as a whole to a four-year high. Anything above 50 indicates an expansion in activity.

Chris Williamson, Markit's chief economist, says the turmoil in Greece appears to have had "little discernible impact on the real economy."

Williamson says the combination of the stimulus program from the European Central Bank stimulus and low inflation appears to be boosting consumer and business spending, helping to offset 'Grexit' anxiety.

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10:42 a.m.

Though the poll by ALCO for To Ethnos newspaper found Greeks evenly divided on the question that's actually being put forward in Sunday's referendum, it found a clear majority in favor of the country staying in the euro.

According to the poll, an overwhelming majority of 74 percent said they believe it is better for Greece to remain in the euro, compared to 15 percent who prefer a national currency. A further 11 percent said they did not know or would not answer.

On the actual question about recent creditor proposals, the poll found 41.5 percent supporting "yes" and 40.2 percent "no," with 10.9 percent undecided. The rest said they would abstain or leave their ballots blank.

ALCO interviewed 1,000 people nationwide on June 30-July 1 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.

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9:49 a.m.

An opinion poll shows Greeks almost evenly split over Sunday's referendum on recent creditor proposals, with 41.5 percent saying they will vote "yes" and 40.2 percent "no," with 10.9 percent undecided. The rest said they would abstain or leave their ballots blank. The difference between the "yes" and "no" votes is well within the margin of error.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called the referendum last weekend, asking Greeks to decide whether they should accept creditor reform proposals in return for bailout funds. He is advocating a "no" vote.

The "yes" campaign says the referendum is a vote on Greece's future in the euro, which the government rejects.

The poll, conducted by ALCO for To Ethnos newspaper, interviewed 1,000 people nationwide on June 30-July 1 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.

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8:37 a.m.

Germans are divided on whether Greece should stay in the eurozone.

An opinion poll conducted for public broadcaster ARD found that 45 percent of Germans say Greece should keep the common currency. An equal number say Greece should leave the eurozone.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents say they are concerned about the impact that a possible bankruptcy of Greece might have on the country's population. Some 31 percent say they are worried about the cohesion of the European Union, while 24 percent are concerned about the consequences that such a possibility might have for the German economy.

The telephone poll of 1,001 adults, published Friday, was conducted from June 29-30. It had a margin of error of up to 3.1 percent.

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