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July 25, 2014
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Since the financial crisis, many countries in Europe, especially Spain and Greece, have been plagued by severe unemployment, far worse than anything experienced in the United States. Whereas U.S. unemployment never rose above 9.9 percent, even in the depths of the recession, and is just 6.1 percent today, Spain's unemployment rate rose to 27.2 percent in the first quarter of 2013 after government austerity that was intended to calm the economy backfired disastrously.

But now — after nearly six years of economic disaster, during which time hundreds of thousands have had to go abroad to seek employmentSpanish unemployment is falling, down to 24.5 percent this month. That's an improvement, but it mainly underlines just how bad things got in Spain, and just how much further it has to go before its economy recovers. At the current rate of job creation, in which 402,000 jobs were created in the first quarter, it would still take over three years to create enough jobs for Spain's 5.6 million unemployed.

And with other eurozone economies faltering — including France, where unemployment is on the rise — there is absolutely no guarantee that Spain's current rate of job creation can be sustained. A European economic recovery remains elusive. John Aziz

2:37 p.m. ET
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Days after President Trump delivered a highly politicized speech at the Boy Scouts' National Jamboree on Monday night, Boy Scouts of America Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh on Thursday offered a formal apology:

I want to extend my sincere apologies to those in our Scouting family who were offended by the political rhetoric that was inserted into the jamboree. That was never our intent. The invitation for the sitting U.S. president to visit the National Jamboree is a long-standing tradition that has been extended to the leader of our nation that has had a Jamboree during his term since 1937. It is in no way an endorsement of any person, party, or policies. For years, people have called upon us to take a position on political issues, and we have steadfastly remained non-partisan and refused to comment on political matters. We sincerely regret that politics were inserted into the Scouting program. [Michael Surbaugh, via Scouting Wire]

In his speech, Trump criticized Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama; jokingly threatened a Republican senator and his Health and Human Services secretary over the ObamaCare repeal; and made a crack about the "fake media" underestimating the size of his "record-setting" crowd. Boy Scouts and their mothers were not pleased.

Read Surbaugh's full statement here. Becca Stanek

2:00 p.m. ET
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Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) plans to vote for Senate Republicans' "skinny repeal" of ObamaCare, but first he wants to be sure the bill won't pass the House. To ensure the bill "isn't a one-way trip to the House," Rounds said he has requested a guarantee that the bill would not pass the House without being brought to conference first, so senators could have another chance to make amendments alongside the House before the bill is finalized. If the bill does pass the House, Rounds asked for at least a delay in its implementation.

Rounds isn't the only GOP senator so far to suggest that a "skinny repeal," which is centered around eliminating ObamaCare's individual mandate, isn't Republicans' actual plan for health-care reform. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) expressed his agreement Thursday with House Freedom Caucus leader Rep. Mark Meadows' (R-N.C.) assessment that "skinny repeal" is just a "vehicle for conference" negotiations between the House and Senate. "Would we send [a 'skinny' bill] to the president? The answer is no," Cornyn quoted Meadows as saying.

The Senate is poised to vote later Thursday on "skinny repeal," though the exact contents of the bill remain unclear. Becca Stanek

12:19 p.m. ET
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When the markets opened Thursday, Microsoft founder Bill Gates lost his standing as the world's richest man. That honor now belongs to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Amazon shares jumped Thursday morning, pulling up Bezos' net worth by $1.4 billion. As of 12 p.m. ET, Forbes' real-time list of the world's billionaires calculated Bezos has a net worth of $91.4 billion, while Gates' net worth now sits at a mere $90.1 billion.

Aside from Gates and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, Bezos is the third American to top the list since its inception in 1987 and the seventh person to hold the top spot. The New York Times reported that Gates has topped Forbes' list "for 18 out of the last 23 years."

Of course, Gates could always take back the top spot if Microsoft stock picks up from its slight drop, or if Amazon's takes a tumble. But with Amazon potentially on the path to becoming the first-ever trillion-dollar company, it certainly seems Bezos just might give Gates a run for his money. Becca Stanek

11:11 a.m. ET

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday warned President Trump that there will be serious consequences if he tries to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller without a very good reason. "Any effort to go after Mueller could be the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency, unless Mueller did something wrong," Graham said, noting that right now he has "no reason to believe that Mueller is compromised" and cannot ably lead the investigation into Trump and his team's potential ties to Russia.

Graham also announced that he's working on legislation that would prevent a special counsel from getting axed without "judicial review of the firing." He hopes to introduce it next week with bipartisan support.

Catch a snippet of Graham's interview below. Becca Stanek

10:30 a.m. ET

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway thinks it's a real travesty that potential public servants are getting turned off from the job because they'd have to fill out a financial disclosure form. "There are so many qualified men and women who wanted to serve this president and this administration and their country, who have been completely demoralized and completely, I think, disinclined to do so because of the paperwork that we have to put forward — divesting assets, the different hoops you have to run through," Conway said Thursday on Fox & Friends.

She hoped that the paperwork aspect of public service isn't "disincentivizing" to White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, who is right now fuming that his publicly available financial disclosure form was "leaked." Conway explained that even though these documents are "eventually procurable publicly" — and were indeed reported on after the information was requested and granted — Scaramucci is threatening to get the Department of Justice and the FBI involved because he's convinced the "leaked" documents are evidence "somebody doesn't want him here." "Somebody is trying to get in his way and scare him off from working here," Conway said.

Watch it below. Becca Stanek

9:46 a.m. ET

The "leaked" financial disclosure form that White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci has threatened to go to the FBI about is actually public information. After Scaramucci steamed for hours about the fact that Politico reported details of the financial disclosure form he filed with the Office of Government Ethics and vowed to clamp down on the stream of leaks coming out of the Trump administration, Politico reporter Lorraine Woellert set the record straight:

In Woellert's piece, she revealed that Scaramucci is still able to profit from his stake in his investment firm, SkyBridge Capital, despite the fact that he joined the Export-Import Bank last month as a government employee. He's still listed on the investment firm's website as the managing director. Becca Stanek

9:10 a.m. ET

Whether you're ready or not, here comes Hillary Clinton — with a new book about the 2016 election. The book will be released Sept. 12 and will be a memoir of Clinton's time on the campaign trail.

In classic Clinton fashion, the tome's title is straightforward and unexciting, with the cover deploying a minimalist two-piece aesthetic:

You'll note that the book's title is not punctuated by a question mark, but is rather a declaration that implies the memoir will deal in past events. It does not promise to answer the question of what happened, because, well, we all know that already. Kimberly Alters

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