LBN- Special Report- Thursday

*U.S. Secures Vast New Trove of Intelligence on ISIS:
The United States is poring over a vast trove of new intelligence about Islamic State fighters who have flowed into Syria and Iraq and some who then returned to their home countries, information that American officials say could help fight militants on the battlefield and prevent potential plotters from slipping into Europe. American-backed Syrian Kurdish and Arab militias have seized more than 10,000 documents and 4.5 terabytes of digital data in recent weeks while fighting insurgents in Manbij in northern Syria, near the Turkish border, a major hub for Islamic State fighters entering and leaving Syria, American officials said. An initial American review of the material offers new clues about “foreign fighters, the networks, where they’re from,” according to Brett McGurk, President Obama’s special envoy for combating the Islamic State. Other officials said the information included the fighters’ identities, countries of origin, routes into Syria and the illicit networks that recruited and ferried them to the region. Those details are being shared with allies to help stanch the flow of militants.

*France Was Warned of 2nd Church Attacker:
French officials have identified the second man involved in the Normandy church attack during Mass on Tuesday. Authorities say his photo was distributed to French police on July 22 with a warning that he might be planning an attack. The 19-year-old, Abdel-Malik Nabil Petitjean, was identified by DNA testing on his corpse. The French anti-terrorism agency, UCLAT, reportedly warned officials that Petitjean “could be ready to participate in an attack on national territory.” Petitjean was spotted in Turkey last month, and officials said he appeared to be heading to Syria before he turned around and returned to France. Another 19-year-old, Adel Kermiche, perpetrated the attack with him, in which they held several nuns and priests hostage before ultimately slashing the throat of Father Jacques Hamel, 86, after forcing him to kneel. ISIS released a video on Wednesday that evidently shows the two suspects pledging allegiance to the Islamic State. News broke on Wednesday that Kermiche was freed from jail before the attack despite his recorded attempts to join militants in Syria. He was awaiting trial. An acquaintance who knew Kermiche said he wasn’t surprised to hear about his involvement in the church attack. “He talked about it all the time. He talked about Islam, the things like this he was going to do. He talked about the Quran and Mecca and he told me ‘I’m going to attack a church.’ He said this two months ago on leaving the mosque. On my mother’s life, I didn’t believe him.”

*N. Korea: U.S. Has Declared War:
A top North Korean diplomat said on Thursday that the U.S. has “crossed the red line” and declared war against the country by placing the country’s leader Kim Jong Un on a list of sanctioned individuals in connection with alleged human rights abuses in the authoritarian state. Han Song Ryol, the top diplomat in charge of U.S. affairs at the North’s Foreign Ministry, said, “The Obama administration went so far to have the impudence to challenge the supreme dignity of [the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea].” He added, “The United States has crossed the red line in our showdown. We regard this thrice-cursed crime as a declaration of war.” North Korea, as a nation, has been sanctioned several times for its nuclear weapons, but Kim Jong Un had not been personally sanctioned before the U.S. announced this new measure on July 6.

*Putin Calls Athlete Ban ‘Discrimination’:
At a Kremlin ceremony to send off Olympic athletes on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin lashed out over a ban on Russia’s track and field athletes. “We can’t accept indiscriminate disqualification of our athletes with an absolutely clean doping history,” Putin said, in reference to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s allegations that Russia’s Olympic athletes were part of a state-sponsored doping scheme. “We cannot and will not accept what in fact is pure discrimination,” he said. All of Russia’s track and field athletes, with the exception of one, have been banned from taking part in the Rio Games next month, and Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has been blocked by the International Olympic Committee from attending the games over allegations that he personally oversaw the widespread doping of athletes. While sending off those athletes who have been allowed to participate—fencers, triathletes, and table tennis players—Putin described the ban as part of a conspiracy to make Russia look bad on the world stage. “The situation went beyond the legal field as well as common sense,” Putin said. “It’s a well-planned campaign which targeted our athletes, which included double-standards and the concept of collective punishment which has nothing to do with justice or even basic legal norms.”

*WHO READS LBN? Political consultant Mark McKinnon:

*Backpacks Banned from French Beaches:
Backpacks have been banned from some French beaches, as authorities implement new rules in the wake of recent deadly terror attacks in the country. In particular, large, “non-transparent” bags will be banned from beaches in Cannes. Any bag that could conceal “weapons or explosive substances” will not be permitted, and security has been tightened in other public spaces. Officials said armed police and soldiers will be patrolling beaches, festivals, stations, and airports throughout the summer. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told local officials that any events should be canceled “if conditions do not allow for optimal security.”

*WikiLeaks Releases DNC Voicemails:
WikiLeaks has released what appears to be 50 voicemail recordings from Democratic National Committee members. This latest leak, published on the WikiLeaks website during the third night of the Democratic National Convention, follows a larger leak of DNC emails, which lead to the resignation of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz. The leaks have become a national security interest, after U.S. intelligence organizations announced that the hack on DNC servers appears to have been perpetrated by the Russian government.

*Debt Collectors’ Abuses Prompt Consumer Agency to Propose New Rules:
For the first time in nearly 40 years, federal regulators are preparing to significantly strengthen the rules that govern debt collection in an effort to clamp down on collectors who hound consumers for debts they may not even owe. Under the proposed regulations, which will undergo a lengthy review process, debt collection companies will have to more fully document the debt they are trying to collect, make it clear how a consumer can dispute the debt, and observe state statutes of limitations that bar them from legally pursuing older debts — all safeguards that are frequently flouted, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the federal agency that plans to put forth the new rules on Thursday. The regulations also take aim at the stereotype of the harassing debt agency: Collectors would be barred from trying to contact people more than six times in a week. And, after a debtor dies, the collectors would have to wait 30 days before contacting family members about paying up.

*LBN-HEALTH WATCH:   ***Learning requires more than the acquisition of unfamiliar knowledge; that new information or know-how, if it’s to be more than ephemeral, must be consolidated and securely stored in long-term memory.  Mental repetition is one way to do that, of course. But mounting scientific evidence suggests that what we do physically also plays an important role in this process. Sleep, for instance, reinforces memory. And recent experiments show that when mice and rats jog on running wheels after acquiring a new skill, they learn much better than sedentary rodents do. Exercise seems to increase the production of biochemicals in the body and brain related to mental function.

*WHO READS LBN? Best documentary award winning film producer, jewelry designer and actress, Sasa Blackoff:

*LBN-R.I.P.:   ***James Alan McPherson, who overcame segregation and the narrow prism of a legal education to become the first black writer to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, died on Wednesday in Iowa City. He was 72. His death was announced by the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, where he was a professor emeritus. The cause was complications of pneumonia, it said.   ***Forrest E. Mars Jr., a billionaire scion of the reclusive family that satisfied America’s sweet tooth with the Milky Way candy bar and M&M’s and who helped build Mars Inc. into the world’s largest confectionary company, died on Tuesday in Seattle. He was 84. The company, which he inherited with his brother and sister in 1973, said the cause was a heart attack.

*UNIQUELY, LBN: Sara R., an LBN reader from London, England.

*LBN-INVESTIGATES: The jump from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is 250 feet. Trauma from the jump is dramatic and can cause ripped blood vessels, demolished central nervous systems, and a transected spinal cord. While a few have died from drowning and one from a shark attack, most die from the impact of the body on the water. Only 1% who jump survive.

*LBN-NOTICED:   ***Sarah Silverman lunching alone at Maison Kayser across from Bryant Park in NYC on Wednesday after her DNC appearance in Philly.   ***Golfer Dustin Johnson and fiancée Paulina Gretzky working out at Equinox in Summit, NJ, ahead of this weekend’s PGA Championship. Rory McIlroy was also seen doing “an intense functional fitness workout”.   ***Lincoln Center’s “Merchant of Venice” star Jonathan Pryce doing karaoke at Birdland Jazz Club for Jim Caruso’s Cast Party.   ***L.A. power attorney Brian Pannish having lunch yesterday at 1 Pico at Shutter’s Hotel on the beach in Santa Monica.


*LBN-OVERHEARD:   ***Heath Ledger’s death was his fault, the late actor’s father shared. “It was totally his fault. It was no one else’s — he reached for [the pills]. He put them in his system. You can’t blame anyone else in that situation,” Kim Ledger told the Daily Mail Australia earlier this week. Heath passed away in January 2008 after accidentally overdosing on a cocktail of oxycodone, diazepam, hydrocodone and doxylamine. He was 28.   ***Fifth time’s the charm, at least according to David Foster‘sdaughters. While speaking with Ryan Seacrest on KIIS FM Wednesday, “Famously Single” stars Erin and Sara Fosterrevealed dad David will likely walk down the aisle again after calling it quits with Yolanda Hadid. “We just want him to be happy,” 33-year-old Erin said. “We love when he is married, in a relationship. He is at his happiest when he is in a relationship. He will definitely get married again. He loves being married. Lucky No. 5!”

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