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July 30, 2014
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The BLS' first measurement of Q2 GDP growth is out — and it brings two pleasant surprises.

The economy expanded at a 4 percent annualized rate, significantly above the 3 percent rate that economists had expected.

And first quarter GDP — which had been shown to have contracted at a 2.9 percent annualized rate, a slip mostly attributed to unseasonably bad weather — was revised from new data to have only contracted at 2.1 percent.

So, strong second quarter growth more than made up for the first quarter setback, setting the stage for strong overall 2014 growth and a continued recovery. John Aziz

August 31, 2016
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Donald Trump delivered a speech on immigration Wednesday night in Phoenix, and promised that if his 10-point plan is followed, "peace, law, justice, and prosperity will prevail."

The Republican presidential nominee arrived in Arizona hours after his meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Trump said the pair had a "thoughtful and substantive conversation, and it will go on for awhile, and in the end, we're all gonna win, both countries." In Phoenix, Trump spent more than an hour discussing immigration, visas, the "beautiful" wall he will build, and assimilation (sometimes, he said, it "doesn't work out" for people, and it is "our right" to choose immigrants the "likeliest to thrive and flourish and love us"). "There is only one core issue in the immigration debate, and that issue is the wellbeing of the American people," he said. The audience cheered for him throughout the speech, chanting at times "USA! USA!" but did boo sanctuary cities, San Francisco, the media, any Democrat named, and global warming (not because it's bad, but because scientists say it exists).

Trump went through his 10-step policy to combat illegal immigration and strengthen legal immigration, including his famous call for a "great wall along the southern border. Mexico will pay, 100 percent. They don't know it yet, but they're gonna pay for it." This wall, he continued, will be built on "Day 1" of a Trump presidency, and will be "impenetrable, tall, powerful, [and] beautiful" with "above and below ground sensors, towers, aerial surveillance." Also on Day 1, in fact in his "first hour in office," he would make sure that "criminal aliens" are deported, Trump said, and he would "issue detainers for illegal immigrants arrested for any crime whatsoever."

Trump went on to say "there will be no amnesty," and he would triple the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and start a new deportation task force, which he suggested could possibly also deport his opponent, American citizen Hillary Clinton. He also said that anyone who "illegally crosses the border will be detained until they are removed out of our country" and he would "cancel unconstitutional executive orders and enforce all immigration orders." When it comes to legal immigration, Trump said he wants to see "extreme vetting," and new screening tests "to make sure those we are admitting to our country share our values and love our people." He would suspend immigration from Syria and Libya, instead setting up safe zones in their countries.

At the end of the speech, Trump was joined onstage by several supporters whose relatives were killed by undocumented immigrants, and he told the audience his hope is to unite the country and see "illegal immigration a memory of the past." Catherine Garcia

August 31, 2016
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All five people on board two small aircraft that collided in midair over Alaska on Wednesday died, the Alaskan National Guard said.

Officials say the collision took place shortly before 11 a.m., about 60 miles north of Bethel. The planes involved were a Hageland Aviation Cessna 208 Caravan with three people on board and a Renfro's Alaska Adventures Piper PA-18 Super Cub with two people. Medics were flown in on helicopters, and found no survivors at the scene. An investigation is now underway. Catherine Garcia

August 31, 2016
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Currently in the Gulf of Mexico, Tropical Storm Hermine is expected to make landfall in Florida sometime Thursday night or early Friday.

The National Hurricane Center's latest forecast has Hermine's center likely moving ashore near Tallahassee, and by that point it could be near hurricane-strength or a low-end hurricane, The Weather Channel reports. There is already some flooding across Florida due to heavy rains, and potential threats from Hermine include coastal flooding, especially near the Gulf Coast; strong winds; rainfall flooding; and some isolated tornadoes in northern and central Florida. After it makes landfall, Hermine will track northeastward, affecting south Georgia to the Carolinas Thursday night into early Saturday. Catherine Garcia

August 31, 2016
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After meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Wednesday, Donald Trump said the pair did not discuss payment for his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but a presidential spokesman said that's not the case.

"What the president said is that Mexico, as he has said on several occasions…will not pay for that wall," spokesman Eduardo Sanchez told Reuters. Trump made his earlier comments during a joint news conference in Mexico City, held after the two had a private meeting. Trump said they discussed the wall, just not who would foot the bill. Catherine Garcia

August 31, 2016
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On Wednesday, the Supreme Court denied a request from North Carolina to allow three provisions of its strict voting rights law to go back into effect by the November election.

The justices were split 4-4, leaving intact a lower court opinion that struck down the law. North Carolina's lead lawyer, Paul Clement, asked that three provisions be reinstated: the elimination of pre-registration for 16-year-olds; the need for voters to present one of eight different forms of ID at the polls; and the reduction of early voting days from 17 to 10.

The law has been challenged by civil rights groups and the Department of Justice, who said it had a disparate impact on minority voters, CNN reports. "Once an electoral law has been found to be racially discriminatory, and injunctive relief has been found to be necessary to remedy that discrimination, the normal rule is that the operation of the law must be suspended," acting Solicitor General Ian Gershengorn said. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) issued a statement calling it a "common-sense voter ID law," and said the state "has been denied basic voting rights already granted to more than 30 other states to protect the integrity of one person, one vote." Catherine Garcia

August 31, 2016
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Donald Trump met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Wednesday, after which the two men gave a joint press conference. Trump called Peña Nieto's invitation a "great honor," and said the the U.S. and Mexico are "united by our support for democracy, a great love for our people, and the contributions of millions of Mexican-Americans to the United States." Trump said he has a "tremendous feeling" for Mexican-Americans, explaining that not only does he have several friends of Mexican descent, but he has also employed "tremendous numbers" of Mexican-Americans in the United States.

Trump then laid out five shared goals for the U.S. and Mexico: 1) ending illegal immigration, which he called a "humanitarian disaster"; 2) having a secure border; 3) curbing the drug trade; 4) improving the NAFTA agreement; and 5) keeping manufacturing wealth in the continent. Regarding Trump's infamous border wall, the GOP candidate said that while both he and Peña Nieto "respect and recognize the right of either country to build a physical barrier," paying for the wall was not discussed; Trump has insisted throughout his campaign that Mexico would foot the bill for such construction.

Peña Nieto spoke briefly, saying that he had invited both Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to visit, and Trump's camp responded quickly in the affirmative. He also said he recognized that many Mexicans had been offended and aggrieved by some of Trump's remarks as a candidate, but that as Mexican president, it is his job to work toward a mutually beneficial and respectful relationship with the United States and to respect the American electoral process.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump's advisers said they hoped the visit would provide a presidential photo op for the candidate — but there was no American flag on stage with Trump and Peña Nieto, only a Mexican flag. Next, Trump will give a speech later Wednesday in Arizona on his immigration policy. Kimberly Alters

August 31, 2016

Hillary Clinton dismissed Donald Trump's meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto as being nothing more than a "photo op," and even Trump's own team seems to agree. But if that's true, it is about the worst photo op in history:

It does appear from the footage of the joint statement that the stage is conspicuously lacking an American flag:

As Trump has vowed to make Mexico pay for the border wall, it is perhaps not such an encouraging sign that he seemingly couldn't even negotiate getting an American flag on stage. In his defense, though, there is such a thing as too many American flags. Jeva Lange

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