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Tuesday, Jun 27th

Last update05:20:13 AM GMT

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After London fire, 600 tower blocks thought to have similar cladding

600 London builidngs have same classingAn estimated 600 high-rise buildings in England contain cladding similar to that used on a London tower block which caught fire, killing at least 79 people, officials said on Thursday.

Flames spread rapidly up the 24-storey residential Grenfell Tower last week, trapping people inside, in what was Britain's worst blaze since World War Two. Exterior cladding added during a refurbishment may have played a part, residents have said.

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Senate GOP brings Obamacare repeal bill out of the shadows

Health care billSenate GOP leaders on Thursday finally released their secret health-care reform bill, which would repeal Obamacare taxes, restructures subsidies to insurance customers based on their incomes and phase out Medicaid's expansion program.

The bill, if passed into law, would sharply reduce financial aid that currently helps millions of people obtain health coverage, while at the same time offering a tax break to primarily wealthy Americans.

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New York Times slams 'misguided attack on Al Jazeera'

Al JazeerahSilencing Al Jazeera was a high priority when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Yemen moved to isolate Qatar earlier this month, the Editorial Board of The New York Times (NYT) wrote in an opinion piece published on Thursday.

"Qatar’s critics accuse the station of supporting Sunni Islamist terrorism and Iranian ambitions. But Saudi Arabia is hardly innocent when it comes to spreading Islamist extremism or supporting terrorist groups," the Board wrote.

By attacking Al Jazeera, Saudi Arabia and its anti-Qatar coalition are attempting to "eliminate a voice that could lead citizens to question their rulers".

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Deadly car bomb hits Afghanistan's Lashkar Gah

Car bomb hits Afghan bankAt least 29 people have been killed after a car bomb exploded outside a bank in Lashkar Gah, capital of the southern Afghan province of Helmand, the provincial governor said.

At least 60 people were wounded in the attack outside the New Kabul Bank branch and most of the casualties were civilians, Hayaullah Hayat said.

The blast took place around 12 noon local time (08:00 GMT), according to the governor's spokesperson Omar Zwak, when civilians and members of the security forces waiting to collect their pay.

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Psychologists Open a Window on Brutal C.I.A. Interrogations

Mohamed Ben Soud - held by CIAFifteen years after he helped devise the brutal interrogation techniques used on terrorism suspects in secret C.I.A. prisons, John Bruce Jessen, a former military psychologist, expressed ambivalence about the program.

He described himself and a fellow military psychologist, James Mitchell, as reluctant participants in using the techniques, some of which are widely viewed as torture, but also justified the practices as effective in getting resistant detainees to cooperate.

“I think any normal, conscionable man would have to consider carefully doing something like this,” Dr. Jessen said in a newly disclosed deposition. “I deliberated with great, soulful torment about this, and obviously I concluded that it could be done safely or I wouldn’t have done it.”

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Wall Street Journal fires celebrated reporter over involvement with arms dealer

Jay Solomon fired by WSJThe Wall Street Journal has fired chief foreign affairs correspondent Jay Solomon for what the paper called a “breach” and ethical lapses over his involvement with an Iranian-born arms dealer.

Washington Bureau Chief Paul Beckett made the announcement to staff during a hastily called meeting on Wednesday after meeting with senior editors in New York the day before. Beckett did not elaborate on Solomon’s situation, only to say that an upcoming Associated Press investigation would have more details. Beckett took no questions and asked any staffers who knew anything about the situation to come forward, according to multiple sources.

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Saudi King Deposes Crown Prince And Names 31-Year-Old Son As New Heir

New Heir to Saudi throne namedSaudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has changed his pick for a successor, naming his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince and deposing Prince Mohammed bin Nayef from the post. At 31, the country's new successor to the throne is 50 years younger than the current monarch.

Mohammed bin Nayef, 57, had served as crown prince since 2015, taking the post shortly after Salman, his uncle, was crowned. He also had been Saudi Arabia's interior minister — another job that will now be filled by Mohammed bin Salman.

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Despite Concerns About Blackmail, Flynn Heard C.I.A. Secrets

CIA Director, Mike PompeoSenior officials across the government became convinced in January that the incoming national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, had become vulnerable to Russian blackmail.

At the F.B.I., the C.I.A., the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence — agencies responsible for keeping American secrets safe from foreign spies — career officials agreed that Mr. Flynn represented an urgent problem.

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Georgia special election: 4 takeaways

Karen HandelThe most expensive, closely scrutinized House race ever is over — but its effects are going to ricochet throughout the political landscape for the next year and a half.

Both parties spent the $50 million race for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District trying not only to win the seat but to test strategies, messages and ideas. And while Republican Karen Handel’s win over Democrat Jon Ossoff on Tuesday was ultimately a local event, it told us a lot about the national political environment — especially in the House of Representatives, where Democrats hope to challenge for the majority in 2018.

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