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June 29, 2018 - 12:00 am

TRUMP'S HOT STREAK

Court rulings, vacancy, summit plan have Trump on hot streak

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is enjoying a hot streak — even if some of his good news is not of his own making.

A series of fortunate events for the president has given him a reprieve from images of migrant children being separated from their families at the border. He has a Supreme Court vacancy offering the chance to shape the court for decades. There were two favorable Supreme Court rulings just this week. And he's got a summit with Russia on the horizon.

Trump on Friday held an event marking the six-month anniversary of his tax cuts.

Still, presidential historian Jon Meacham said Trump has a tendency "to create a distracting drama of his own making that tends to distract and detract from what we consider typical political momentum."

SHOOTINGS-NEWSPAPER-THE LATEST

The Latest: Hundreds attend vigil for slain paper staffers

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Hundreds of people have gathered in the shadow of the Maryland State House for a candlelight march in memory of five slain newspaper employees.

The mood was somber Friday as Capital Gazette reporter Phil Davis read aloud the names of his five slain co-workers before those gathers began marching through downtown Annapolis.

Some in the crowd carried signs and banners that said "#AnnapolisStrong."

Melissa Wilson and her husband, Benjamin Wilson, brought their children to the vigil. Melissa Wilson's employer has offices in the same building as the newspaper and has co-workers who were there when the gunman opened fire. She said many Annapolis residents have a "one degree of separation" connection with at least one of the five paper employees who were fatally shot Thursday.

"It's not something you can ignore when it's in your backyard," she said.

TRUMP-RUSSIA

Trump says he'll bring up election meddling with Putin

MORRISTOWN, N.J. (AP) — President Donald Trump says he plans to bring up Russian election meddling during his upcoming summit with Vladimir Putin.

Trump tells reporters aboard Air Force One that he plans to discuss Ukraine, Syria and Crimea as well as election interference when he meets with Putin in Helsinki next month.

He says: "We'll be talking about elections. We don't want anybody tampering with elections."

Trump has repeatedly minimized the conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia meddled in the 2016 election to help him win.

He tweeted Thursday that, "Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!" And he has called the FBI's investigation into potential Russian coordination with his campaign a "witch hunt" designed to delegitimize his presidency.

CANADA-US TARIFFS

Canada announces final list of retaliatory tariffs

TORONTO (AP) — Canada is announcing billions of dollars in retaliatory tariffs against the U.S. in response to the Trump administration's duties on Canadian steel and aluminum.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government released Friday the final list of items that Canada will target beginning July 1. Some items will be subject to taxes of 10 or 25 percent.  

The items include ketchup, lawn mowers and playing cards.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chyrstia Freeland said Friday they had no other choice and will not escalate the dispute, but also will not back down. She calls the tariffs regrettable.

President Donald Trump infuriated U.S. allies — from Canada to Mexico and the EU — by imposing tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum.

THAILAND-A COUNTRY HOPES

In song and prayer, Thais show solidarity with missing boys

MAE SAI, Thailand (AP) — With songs, prayers and artwork shared on social media, Thais are keeping hope alive that 12 boys and their soccer coach who disappeared in a flooded mountain cave a week ago will be rescued.

A teacher behind one video featuring schoolchildren singing around candles says "everyone wants to hear good news." The video dedicated to the missing boys has played on national newscasts during round-the-clock coverage of the search and rescue operation at the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in far northern Chiang Rai province.

For a country that has been deeply divided by political strife and remains under military rule following a coup four years ago, the sight of mud-caked soldiers and volunteers working in pouring rain has filled Thais with both pride and a sense of common cause.

TRUMP-SUPREME COURT-THE LATEST

The Latest: Trump says he'll name high court pick on July 9

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump tells reporters aboard Air Force One he plans to announce his choice to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on July 9.

The president says he is considering two women among a group of at least five potential candidates for the nation's high court. Trump says as many as seven candidates may be interviewed.

Trump was asked Friday if he plans to ask potential nominees their views on abortion rights and Roe v. Wade. He responded, "That's not a question I'll be asking."

Trump says he thinks that is "inappropriate to discuss."

He plans to begin interviewing possible candidates Monday but may meet with some this weekend in New Jersey.

Trump says of the candidates under consideration, "It's a great group of intellectual talent."

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SCHOOL SHOOTING-FLORIDA

Survivors describe carnage at Florida high school massacre

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Students and teachers at a Florida high school where a gunman killed 17 told investigators how they watched classmates die, had bullets whiz past them and huddled in fear until they were rescued by police.

Prosecutors released more witness statements Friday in the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The redacted statements are the latest evidence released under Florida law that makes it a public record when it is turned over to defense attorneys.

One girl described hearing two loud bangs in the hallway and thought they were balloons, but then a bullet fired through a window smashed into her computer screen. A bullet then grazed her arm and another went through her shirt. She then witnessed three classmates die. A teacher spoke of calming huddled students.

MUSIC-DRAKE

Month after diss track, Drake emerges unfazed with new album

NEW YORK (AP) — A month ago, Drake's world was crumbling.

Now, he's untouchable.

Pusha T's infamous diss track — where he divulged new information about Drake while also shading his mother, father and bestie — hit Drake hard. Drake's lack of a reply marked a low for the rapper-singer, who had surprised music fans when won his rap beef with Meek Mill in 2015.

But Drake is back on top, seemingly unfazed. And those fans who enjoyed the revelations in Pusha T's "The Story of Adidon" are most likely listening to "Scorpion," the highly anticipated by pop music's No. 1 player released Friday.

For the first time Drake addresses his son in a song, rapping on "Emotionless": "I wasn't hiding my kid from the world, I was hiding the world from my kid."

NSA-PHONE RECORDS

National Security Agency deleting 685 million call records

WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Security Agency is deleting more than 685 million call records the government obtained from telecommunications companies since 2015.

That is raising questions about the viability of the program.

After former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents revealing extensive government surveillance, Congress passed a law in 2015 that ended the NSA's bulk collection of call records. The law said future data would be retained by telecommunications companies, not the NSA, but said the intelligence agency could request information from the massive database.

Now the NSA is deleting all the information it collected from the queries because of "technical irregularities."

A former top national security official at the Justice Department, David Kris, says that points to a failure of the program.

CDC DIRECTOR

Health official who urged abstinence says views have changed

NEW YORK (AP) — The head of the nation's top public health agency once opposed condoms and needle exchange programs as ways to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

This week, in one of his first media interviews since taking office, Dr. Robert Redfield Jr. said his views have changed.

Redfield became director of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March. He rose to prominence in the 1980s as a top researcher into the emerging AIDS epidemic. But at the time he was criticized for being out of step with the public health community on some issues.

Redfield told The Associated Press it has become clear to him that condoms and needle exchanges work as part of comprehensive programs to stop the spread of certain infectious diseases.

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