Washington, D.C.

Obama to visit Alaskan Arctic

President Obama will become the first sitting commander in chief to visit the Alaskan Arctic, the White House said, the latest in a string of stops this summer that have been presidential firsts. In a trip from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3, Obama will visit the state’s rapidly melting glaciers and meet with hunters and fishermen whose livelihoods are threatened by global warming as he seeks to draw attention to his fight against climate change. Last month, he became the first sitting U.S. president to visit both Kenya and Ethiopia.

 

Clinton aides will keep e-mails

Two aides to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton say they’ve agreed not to delete any work-related e-mails. The pledges from Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills are in response to a federal judge’s order that they preserve their records.

 

Drone sightings double

Pilot reports of drone sightings so far this year are more than double last year, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, raising concern about the potential for a deadly collision. There have been more than 650 reports this year by pilots of unmanned aircraft flying near manned aircraft, the FAA said in a statement. There were 238 drone sightings in all of 2014.

 

Audit shows mail surveillance

In what experts say is the first acknowledgment of how the U.S. Postal Service’s mail surveillance program for national security investigations is used, the service’s internal watchdog found that inspectors failed to follow key safeguards in the gathering and handling of classified information. The overall program, called mail covers, allows postal employees working on behalf of law-enforcement agencies to record names, return addresses and other information from the outside of letters and packages before they are delivered to the home of a person suspected of criminal activity.

 

Health law sign-ups grow

Nearly a million people signed up for health insurance under President Obama’s law even after the official enrollment season ended, helping push the share of uninsured Americans below 10 percent and underscoring how hard it could be for Republicans to dismantle the program. The Health and Human Services Department said 943,934 new customers have signed up since open enrollment ended on Feb. 22, benefiting from “special enrollment periods” keyed to life changes and other circumstances.

California

Firefighters make wildfire gains

Firefighters made significant progress on two massive blazes scorching thousands of acres north of Napa. The Jerusalem fire grew by 3,000 acres to 23,500 acres, but firefighters were working aggressively to stop the flames from moving forward, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said. The blaze burning near Middletown in Lake and Napa counties is 33 percent contained. At least 150 people remain evacuated. Further north, firefighters battling the 69,438-acre Rocky fire have nearly contained that blaze.

 

Turkey

Failed talks set stage for elections

Turkey’s two largest political parties ended talks without agreeing to form a coalition government, setting the stage for a likely new election and threatening further political instability. Since the June 7 elections in which the ruling party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lost its absolute majority, Turkey has renewed its armed struggle with Kurdish separatists and has embraced war with the militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. But talks to assemble a new coalition government have gone nowhere.

 

Britain

Some Assange charges dropped

Swedish prosecutors said they were dropping their investigation into some of the sexual-abuse allegations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been holed up for three years in the Ecuadorean embassy in the British capital. But a more serious accusation of rape remains lodged against Assange, meaning that he doesn’t plan to quit the small suite of rooms he hasn’t left since June 2012.

news services