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Japan defense minister quits over peacekeepers' cover-upTOKYO (AP) — Japan's defense minister resigned Friday, saying she accepted the responsibility for a cover-up in which her ministry concealed records of Japanese U.N. peacekeepers' activities and dangers they faced in South Sudan.

Senate prepares to vote on 'skinny repeal' of ObamacareSenate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks with an aide as he leaves the Senate floor Thursday. WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., at long last introduced the text of his “skinny repeal” health care plan for a midnight vote. The bill dramatically scales back the conference’s initial ambitions to repeal and replace Obamacare, and Republican senators who plan to vote for it openly admit they do not want it to become law because it would be a “disaster” for individual insurance markets.

Officer dies after shot multiple times in IndianapolisINDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A police officer died after being shot multiple times while responding to a traffic crash on the south side of Indianapolis, authorities said Thursday.

Texas executes man who stabbed woman to death at her homeTexas executed on Thursday a man convicted of murdering a woman by stabbing her repeatedly after breaking into her San Antonio home in 2004. TaiChin Preyor, 46, died by lethal injection at the state's death chamber in Huntsville, a prisons official said. The execution was delayed for more than three hours to allow the U.S. Supreme Court time to hear an appeal from Preyor's lawyer to spare his life, which the court rejected.

Venezuela's government, opposition on deadly collision courseVenezuela's political crisis looks headed for a dangerous showdown Friday, after the opposition called three more days of nationwide protests against President Nicolas Maduro, defying a ban on demonstrations ahead of a controversial weekend vote. The war of words escalated on Thursday, the second day of a 48-hour general strike by Venezuelans angry over Maduro's plans for a Sunday poll to elect a new body to rewrite the constitution. "The regime declared we can't demonstrate... We will respond with the TAKING OF VENEZUELA" through a protest on Friday, the opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable, said on its Twitter account.

North Dakota woman who threatened Muslims hugs one of themFARGO, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota woman who threatened some Muslim women in a Walmart parking lot met with two of them Thursday and all "expressed their sincere regrets" about the incident and apologized, Fargo's police chief said Thursday.

Texas execution of murderer delayed as court hears appealA planned execution in Texas on Thursday of a man convicted of murdering a woman in her San Antonio home in 2004 was delayed as the U.S. Supreme Court heard a last-minute appeal from lawyers for the death row inmate to spare his life. If the execution goes ahead, it would be the 543rd in Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state. Lawyers for Preyor launched the appeal at the court on Thursday, arguing that prior counsel was incompetent and included a lawyer who lost his license two decades earlier and another attorney with no death penalty experience who used Wikipedia to navigate the Texas death penalty system.

Who is Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director at war with Priebus and Bannon?Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director, is one of President Donald Trump's slickest defenders - but not someone known for his press relations skills. The 52-year-old New Yorker, whose bitter feud with chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon has erupted into open warfare, made a name for himself as a financier, working first for Goldman Sachs and then launching his own wealth management firm. In 2005 he started SkyBridge Capital, the global alternative investment firm which was to make his multi-million dollar fortune. Anthony Scaramucci, pictured at Trump Tower in January 2017  Mr Scaramucci began appearing on television as a pundit, hosting his own show, Wall Street Week. In 2008, Mr Scaramucci was a fundraiser for future president Barack Obama and the Democrats. The two men were Harvard Law School classmates who played basketball together. He once said that Mr Obama has "the best smile in American politics since Jack Kennedy". But between the 2008 and 2012 elections, he became critical of Mr Obama’s Wall Street policies. By 2012, he joined Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s finance team. Sean Spicer: Donald Trump didn't want me to quit 00:42 He was also a fundraiser for Mr Trump during the 2016 election, and became one of Mr Trump's most strident defenders. In January he was reportedly in talks for a White House role, in the Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs. That never materialised, amid concerns about his business dealings - he sold his business to a Chinese consortium. Former Ideagen CEO George Sifakis got the job instead, and Mr Scaramucci was open about his disappointment. Sean Spicer resigned on July 21 But, with Sean Spicer evidently struggling, Mr Scaramucci seized his moment. On July 21 he was appointed communications director, taking over from Mike Dubke, who resigned in May. Mr Spicer immediately handed in his notice.  On his first day, Mr Scaramucci set out to win over the press and set a positive, upbeat tone. He insisted there was no animosity between him, Mr Spicer and the two men in the White House who vehemently opposed his appointment - Priebus and Bannon.  Sean Spicer's press conference slip-ups 01:44 "Sean is a true American patriot," he said. "This is obviously a difficult situation but I wish him well and I hope he goes on to make a tremendous amount of money. "Reince and I have been personal friends for six years. We are a little bit like brothers – we rough each other up every once in a while. Which is totally normal for brothers. New White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci speaks to members of the media on his first day on the job Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP "But he’s a dear friend. We have spent many times together personally. What I want you guys to know is that he was my first call this morning. But we are committed as true professionals as a team to the process, and getting the message out." NBC News reported that Mr Bannon said Mr Scaramucci would get the job "over my dead body". But Mr Scaramucci told the press how he and Mr Bannon are both former employees of Goldman Sachs - although they did not work there at the same time - and how he respected the controversial former Breitbart chief. New White house communications director Anthony Scaramucci, flanked by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, blows a kiss to reporters after addressing them on his first day on the job Credit: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters "Steve is one of the smartest people I know," he said. "Steve has a strong personality, I have a strong personality. "I want to keep my head in the game, keep my ego low, and work with Steve Bannon – I have a huge amount of respect for him."   His attempts to clear the air unravelled spectacularly when he vented his frustration, using colourful language, to reporter Ryan Lizza, who revealed the exchange in full.  I sometimes use colorful language. I will refrain in this arena but not give up the passionate fight for @realDonaldTrump's agenda. #MAGA— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) July 27, 2017 Mr Scaramucci said he had first met Mr Trump, a fellow New Yorker, when he was 31, and had grown to increasingly like and admire him. The smooth-talking financier made multiple sporting analogies which would please his new boss - referring to Mr Trump as a competitive sportsman, relishing the challenge. "I love the president," he said repeatedly, adding at one point that Mr Trump "has really good karma". "He is a very effective communicator. I think he has had a very effective use of reaching the American public directly. What I have found, when I travel around the country, is that people love him."  Mr Scaramucci was not always such a supporter. Anthony Scaramucci speaks to members of the press at the White House Credit: AP He initially supported Scott Walker, and then Jeb Bush. In 2015 he told Fox Business that Mr Trump, as a candidate, was “another hack politician.” He further dismissed Mr Trump as someone who would become president of “the Queens County Bully Association" - a reference to his New York City roots. “You are an inherited-money dude from Queens County — bring it,” said Mr Scaramucci. But by the time he reached the White House podium, he changed his tune. He said the president reminds him of those remarks on a daily basis. "One of the biggest mistakes I made," he said, laughing. "He brings it up every time. I personally apologise, for the 50th time, for saying it." 

Things to know about Foxconn plant coming to WisconsinMADISON, Wis. (AP) — Foxconn Technology Group's manufacturing plant in Wisconsin will be the first U.S.-based facility for the Taiwan-based electronics giant. Here are some things to know about the plant:

Jordan's king demands Israel put guard on trial for killing JordaniansBy Suleiman Al-Khalidi AMMAN (Reuters) - Jordan's King Abdullah angrily demanded on Thursday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put on trial an embassy security guard who shot dead two Jordanians, and said relations between the neighbouring states were at risk. Netanyahu gave the guard a hero's embrace after Israel brought him home under diplomatic immunity, behaviour that the king said was "provocative on all fronts and enrages us, destabilises security and fuels extremism".

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