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10 things you need to know today: July 30, 2017

U.S. conducts missile defense test and bomber flight over Korea, Trump 'disappointed' in China on North Korea, and more


U.S. conducts missile defense test and bomber flight over Korea

The United States military conducted a test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system early Sunday morning, successfully intercepting a ballistic missile launched over the Pacific Ocean using the THAAD system in Alaska. The test will help the U.S. "stay ahead of the evolving threat," said Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves, and it comes two days after North Korea tested its second intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Also Sunday, the U.S. flew two supersonic B-1B bombers over the Korean Peninsula accompanied by South Korean and Japanese fighters.


Trump 'disappointed' in China on North Korea

President Trump on Twitter Saturday evening slammed China for failing to shutter North Korean nuclear ambitions. "I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade," he wrote, "yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!" His comments come after Pyongyang tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that U.S. analysts determined could theoretically strike parts of the continental United States.


Kelly begins chief of staff role Monday

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly will step into his new position as White House chief of staff, replacing the ousted Reince Priebus, beginning Monday. He'll be tasked with bringing discipline to a chaotic, leaky White House. Kelly "won't suffer idiots and fools," an unnamed friend of the retired general told The Washington Post. In the short term, Kelly will be succeeded at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by Elaine Duke, who is currently deputy DHS secretary and will take on the role of acting secretary until more permanent arrangements are made.


Trump threatens to halt ObamaCare 'bailouts' to force repeal

"If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly," President Trump wrote on Twitter midday Saturday, "BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!" The "bailouts" he has in mind are Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments, federal subsidies paid by the executive branch to make insurance plans affordable for low-income Americans, as well as congressional exemptions to ObamaCare rules. Sunday morning, Trump again tweeted that Senate Republicans should not "give up" their quest to repeal and replace ObamaCare.


Australian police foil 'Islamic-inspired' plan to bomb airplane

Law enforcement in Australia thwarted an "Islamic-inspired" plot to crash an airplane with an improvised bomb, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said Sunday after arresting four men in counter-terror raids. "At this time we don't have a great deal of information on the specific attack, the location, date, or time," said AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin. "However, we are investigating information indicating that the aviation industry was potentially a target." Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said airport security measures will be increased as investigation continues.


China flaunts major military parade

China made a show of its military might in a parade at the Zhurihe training base in the Inner Mongolia region Sunday. Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the event celebrating the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), which he leads as chair of the Central Military Commission. "We need to build a strong people's military more than any other time in history," Xi said. "Comrades, you've worked hard!" The parade comes amid saber rattling by China's ally, North Korea, and the United States.


Gunman kills 1, injures 3 in German disco

A gunman opened fire in a nightclub in Konstanz, Germany, Sunday killing one person and injuring three more. The shooter was an Iraqi citizen who had lived in Germany for a long time, and police believe they can rule out terrorism as his goal. "The circumstances surrounding the events at the disco in the evening before the shooting are a bit clearer and this led us to rule out a terrorism background," said a police representative. The attacker was fatally shot by police at the scene and died at a nearby hospital.


Venezuelans vote on government structure amid contentious protests

Venezuelans vote Sunday on a proposal from the widely unpopular President Nicolas Maduro to create a new legislative body called the Constituent Assembly and dissolve the National Assembly, which is dominated by Maduro's opposition. Because opposition leaders have called for a boycott of what they consider an illegitimate vote, Maduro's plan to consolidate his power is expected to pass. The ballot comes after months of unrest over massive shortages of basic foods and goods thanks to the Maduro government's socialist policies. President Trump has threatened "strong and swift economic action" against Maduro if the Constituent Assembly is created.


20,000 flee fire at Spanish music festival

Some 20,000 fans were forced to flee the Parc de Can Zam music festival in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday night when a large fire broke out on the event's stage "due to a technical malfunction." Barcelona firefighters got the blaze under control after about an hour and reported no serious injuries. However, the fire "completely destroyed the stage" and what is left of it "run[s] the risk of collapsing." The remainder of the festival has been canceled.


Chelsea Handler, Tomi Lahren spar at Politicon

Comedian Chelsea Handler and right-wing pundit Tomi Lahren sparred Saturday at Politicon, a cross-partisan political conference held in Pasadena, California. Though Handler maintained she was planning a cordial, if tough, interview, the appearance was hyped as a debate. Centrally at issue in the discussion was President Trump, some of whose statements Handler called "lies" and Lahren labeled "exaggerations." Also at issue was ObamaCare, which Lahren said is in a "death spiral." Handler agreed, but said the death spiral exists because the program is "being sabotaged by the president of the United States."


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