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A Besieged President Says He Misspoke on Vote Meddling

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, New York Times

A Besieged President Says He Misspoke on Vote Meddling

Under unrelenting pressure from congressional Republicans, his own advisers and his allies on Fox News, President Donald Trump abruptly reversed course Tuesday and claimed he had misspoken during a news conference with President Vladimir Putin about whether Russia tried to influence the 2016 presidential election. Trump, reading from a script, said he believed the assessment of the nation’s intelligence agencies that Russia had interfered in the campaign after having seeming to have accepted Putin’s assertion the day before in Helsinki that Russia was not involved. The misunderstanding, he said, grew out of an unsuccessful attempt to use a double negative.

U.S.-Russian Relations in Syria Are Less Rosy Than Leaders Implied

Despite political tensions between the United States and Russia, the two nations’ militaries are cooperating closely — particularly in Syria, President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin said in Helsinki. But their record of collaboration — or at least efforts to avoid conflict — in the war in Syria is far more mixed. Yet it is not clear what room there is for close ties in Syria given Russia’s backing of the government of President Bashar Assad of Syria and the United States’ support for rebel factions. Russian mercenaries have battled U.S. commandos and their Syrian Kurdish allies. Russian and U.S. warplanes have nearly collided.

In Speech, Obama Warns Against Rise of ‘Strongman Politics’

Without mentioning President Donald Trump by name, former President Barack Obama delivered a rebuke of “strongman politics” Tuesday, warning about growing nationalism, xenophobia and bigotry in the United States and around the world. A day after Trump met with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, Obama delivered his highest-profile speech since leaving office, at an event in South Africa marking the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth. "Look around,” he said. “Strongman politics are ascendant suddenly, whereby elections and some pretense of democracy are maintained, the form of it, but those in power seek to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning.”

Broken Deal Prompts Iran to Sue U.S.

Iran has sued the United States at the International Court of Justice in a new, if dubious, strategy to nullify the nuclear sanctions reimposed by President Donald Trump, which are starting to inflict pain on Iran’s already troubled economy. The International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, said in a statement Tuesday that the lawsuit was based on a treaty signed by Iran and the United States more than a half-century ago — well before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The United States vowed to fight what it called a “baseless” lawsuit.

British Leader Survives Test in Parliament

For months, Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain has been buffeted between hard-liners who want a clean break with the European Union and those who favor a softer exit to protect the economy. This week she got it from both camps. On Tuesday, it was the turn of the softer, pro-European conservatives in her ranks who put her to the test, as she narrowly averted defeat in a parliamentary vote that signaled the potential for months of gridlock over the country’s efforts to extract itself from the bloc. It was the second consecutive day of close votes for May, who faced a similar challenge Monday from hard-liners.

U.S. to Accept Remains of Korean War Soldiers

The United States expects to transfer the remains of some U.S. servicemen out of North Korea in the coming weeks, bringing them home 65 years after the end of the Korean War, a U.S. military official said Tuesday. U.S. and North Korean officials met on the border between North and South Korea on Monday in an effort to coordinate the repatriation of remains believed to be those of U.S. soldiers killed during the 1950-53 war. In his meeting with President Donald Trump in Singapore on June 12, the North’s leader, Kim Jong Un, committed to returning the remains of U.S. troops.

West Bank Land Grants Mostly Go to Settlers

Over five decades in control of the West Bank, Israel has marked out hundreds of thousands of acres as public land, and it has allocated almost half for use. But only 400 acres — 0.24 percent of the total allocated so far — has been earmarked for the use of Palestinians, according to official data obtained recently by an anti-settlement group after a freedom of information request. Palestinians make up about 88 percent of the West Bank’s population. The group, Peace Now, said the other 99.76 percent of the land went to help Israeli settlements.

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