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News Wrap: Defying U.S., Gibraltar releases seized Iranian tanker

In our news wrap Thursday, Gibraltar has released the Iranian tanker it seized in July under suspicion of transporting oil to Syria, a violation of international sanctions. Authorities allowed the tanker to leave despite a last-minute effort by the U.S. to claim possession--a move Iran called a “piracy attempt.” Also, the gunman in an hours-long standoff with Philadelphia police is now in custody.

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  • Amna Nawaz:

    Israel is barring two Muslim U.S. congresswomen from visiting Jerusalem and the West Bank. Democratic Representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan are both critics of Israel's policy towards Palestinians. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reversed his earlier decision to allow the women to visit after President Trump urged him to deny their entry.

    Mr. Trump defended his stance before leaving for a rally in New Hampshire a short time ago:

  • President Donald Trump:

    They are very anti-Jewish and they're very anti-Israel. I think it's disgraceful the things they've said. You have lists — this isn't just a one-line mistake, what they've said about Israel and Jewish people is a horrible thing. And they've become the face of the Democrat Party.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    We'll take a closer look at the impact of today's unprecedented decision after the news summary.

    Gibraltar has released the Iranian tanker it seized last month under suspicion of transporting oil to Syria, a violation of international sanctions. Authorities allowed the tanker to leave the British territory, defying a last-minute effort by the U.S. to claim possession. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted the U.S. request was a, quote, piracy attempt. But he gave no indication that Iran would release the British tanker it seized in retaliation.

    In Philadelphia, the gunman in yesterday's hours-long standoff with police is now in custody. Thirty-six-year-old Maurice Hill has a criminal record that includes firearms charges. He has not yet been charged. Hill fired more than 100 rounds at police as they were trying to serve a drug warrant. Six officers were wounded in the seven-hour standoff before hill surrendered.

    Today, the city police commissioner described the harrowing wait.

  • Richard Ross:

    For a long time last night, I know our collective hearts were in our throats, not just at that scene, but probably for many people not knowing how this was going to end. And I have to be honest with you, in the beginning of that scene, being there, I did not think it would end nearly the way it did.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    The six wounded officers have all been released from the hospital.

    A coroner said today that the gunman who killed nine people in Dayton, Ohio earlier this month had alcohol, cocaine, and anti-depressants in his system. Authorities also found a bag of cocaine in his pocket. Police fatally shot the 24-year-old gunman at the scene.

    Scientists say July was the hottest month measured on Earth since record-keeping began in 1880. That's according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration here in the U.S. On average, July was nearly two degrees warmer than the 20th century average for the month.

    A deadly cross-border firefight broke out between Indian and Pakistani forces today, the latest escalation over the disputed region of Kashmir. Tensions have flared there since the Indian government revoked the territory's political autonomy last week. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi defended the status change today, during Independence Day celebrations.

  • Narendra Modi (through translator):

    The old arrangements during the last 70 years encouraged secessionism. They gave birth to terrorism and nurtured nepotism. And in a way, they made the foundations of corruption and discrimination stronger. And that is why we had to ensure that the women in Kashmir get their rights, and the rights available to the tribal communities in the rest of India should also be available in Kashmir.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    But few attended Independence Day celebrations in Kashmir's main city. Nearly 4 million people in the Indian-administered part of Kashmir are in their 12th day of an unprecedented security lockdown and communications blackout.

  • Irshad Ahmed Butt (through translator):

    We are facing a lot of difficulties. We are not celebrating Independence Day. Everything is shut down here. You won't be allowed to go anywhere. Everything is locked down.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    The U.N. Security Council is set to discuss the tense situation in Kashmir tomorrow, in response to requests from neighboring Pakistan and China.

    Back in this country, there are new questions today about the circumstances surrounding accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein's apparent death by suicide in a Manhattan jail. Several news outlets report today that the autopsy, which has yet to be made public, found that Epstein's neck was broken in several places. Such injuries can occur in a death by hanging or in someone who was strangled. It's still unclear when the autopsy results will be made public.

    The House Judiciary Committee issued two new subpoenas today as part of its investigation into the Trump presidency. The Democratic-led panel is requesting President Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and former deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn testify at a public hearing on September 17th. Both played significant roles in special counsel Robert Mueller's report on the president's possible obstruction of justice.

    A federal court in San Francisco has upheld an order requiring U.S. immigration officials to provide food, water and basic hygiene items to children detained at the U.S.-Mexico border. A lower court ruling said conditions at the facilities did not meet safety and sanitation standards from a 1997 settlement agreement. The Trump administration had appealed the decision. But the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today sided with the lower court.

    Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper dropped out of the presidential race today. That brings the number of candidates vying for the Democratic nomination to 23. Hickenlooper said he is now considering a Senate bid, facing off against Republican incumbent Cory Gardner who's up for re-election next year.

    And on Wall Street today, stocks attempted to claw their way back into positive territory after suffering their worst day of 2019. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained nearly 100 points to close at 25,579. The Nasdaq fell seven points. And the S&P-500 added seven.

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