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14 Fires Burn Across Oklahoma as Extreme Heat Continues

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At least 14 fires burned across Oklahoma on Saturday, destroying around five dozen infrastructures and forcing people to flee their homes as the temperature outside remained above 100 degrees.

The fires were started in Luther but quickly began appearing in neighboring counties including Creek County in northeastern Oklahoma and Payne County just 35 miles west of Creek County, USA Today reported.

Keli Cain a spokeswoman of Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said no serious injuries had been reported and that families are being evacuated from the counties near the approaching fires, USA Today said.

Another spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Management, Jerry Lojka, said that six helicopters were deployed to fight the fires but that they were unable to respond to all the fires, CNN reported.

Firefighters were still exhausted from Friday's fires, but fought to protect people and their homes on Saturday despite the intense heat that sent a few firefighters to a hospital and left many with heat exhaustive symptoms, CNN said.


U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney is scheduled to deliver a foreign policy plan late Sunday where he is expected to side with Israel and "respect" any actions taken by Israel to control Nuclear Development in Iran.

During a morning briefing in Israel, Romney's foreign policy advisor, Dan Senor, said "If Israel has to take action on its own, in order to stop Iran from developing that capability the governor would respect that decision," CNN said.

On Sunday morning Romney discussed his concerns about Iran with Israeli Prime MInister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also a close friend of Romney, BBC News said.

Romney expressed his worries on Nuclear development in Iran saying "The threat it would pose to Israel, the region and the world is incomparable and unacceptable," BBC News reported.

The GOP's candidate's campaign released excerpts of the speech making it clear that Romney will fully support Israel in whatever future actions that take against Iran.

"My message to the people of Israel and the leaders of Iran is one and the same: I will not look away, and neither will my country," Romney is expected to say, CNN reported.

Boy Scouts Uphold Policy to Exclude Gay People

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The Boy Scouts of America upheld their policy on Tuesday, which bans openly gay boys from being members and gay or lesbian adults from being leaders.

The news release said that the Boy Scouts of America do not require potential leaders, volunteers or members to share their sexual orientation, but "individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA," are not to be granted membership or employment, the New York Times said.

The committee placed in charge of evaluating the policy consisted of 11 volunteers and professional leaders who concluded that the longtime policy represents the "beliefs and perspectives of BSA members," CNN said.

"The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers, and at the appropriate time and in the right setting," Bob Mazzuca, BSA's chief scout executive, said.

The policy has been challenged fiercely since a 2000 Supreme Court ruling which allowed the BSA to fire an openly gay employee, saying the BSA had the right to do so because it was a private organization, the New York Times said.

A statement released by the deputy executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Darlene Nipper said "Once again, officials of the Boy Scouts of America have turned their backs on a chance to demonstrate fairness, exercise sound judgment, and serve as a role model for valuing others, free of bias and prejudice," CNN said.

Richard Ferraro, vice president for communications with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation pointed out that the Girls Scouts, the Boys and Girls Clubs, the 4-H Clubs and now the military, all "forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation," The New York Times said.

"The Boy Scouts of America is one of the last cultural institutions to have discrimination as part of their policy," Ferraro said. "It's policies like this that contribute to bullying in schools."

Drought Affects 55 Percent of the United States

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The United States is experiencing the worst drought since 1956 according to the National Climatic Data Center's monthly report released on Monday.

Conditions of withered crops, cracked soil, and hungry livestock have extended through the West, the Great Plains and the Midwest leaving 55 percent of the U.S. in moderate to extreme drought conditions, and June's heat only worsened conditions, the Star Tribune said.

June was ranked as the third-driest month nationally in at least 118 years, the center said, and more areas became affected by severe to short-term drought because of the heat and lack of rain, CNN said.

Unlike the droughts of the 1930s and 1950s that were the result of seasons gradually warming and drying lands, climatologists are calling this years drought as a "flash drought," because it developed in a matter of months, the Star Tribune said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture also reported that 38 percent of corn crops in the 18-corn producing states are in poor or very-poor conditions, CNN said.

Obama announced Monday that he plans to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for Americans making under $250,000 a year, while having the wealthiest return to the tax rate of the Clinton administration.

Republicans agree that taxes should not increase for the middle-class, but strongly discourage increasing taxes on the upper-class for fear that any tax increase would disrupt the already fragile economy, NPR News said.

The fiscal disagreement has been going on for two years The New York Times said, and Obama remains firmly certain that taxing the wealthiest in America would decrease the federal budget deficits.

Obama also contends that a stronger middle-class, one that does not have high taxes, is where economic growth should stem from, rather than a "top down" approach, the New York Times said.

"We don't need more top down economics. We have tried that theory. We have seen what happened." Obama said. "We can't afford to go back to it," The New York Times reported.


The Labor Department reported Friday that the economy added 80,000 jobs, an unemployment rate of 8.2 percent, during the month of June to make it the third consecutive month of weak hiring.

It is also the third straight year that the economy and job-market has seen a roller-coaster trend. The economy gets a substantial increase in jobs and consumption early in the year only to have a decrease in hiring once spring and summer arrives, The Star Tribune said.

The slowdown trends, economists say, can be connected to "one-time negative shocks," such as the tsunami in Japan and the Arab Spring from 2011, The New York Times said.

Europe's financial crisis is playing the "shock" role for 2012 as it steadily affects U.S. trade, financial markets, and credit availability, the New York Times said.

The rest of 2012 will continue to create little job growth, economists said. 5 million jobs remain lost from when the recession officially ended in 2009, and at the rate jobs are moving it could be three years before employment returns to where it was in 2008, the Star Tribune reported.

Nearly two million people through out the East and South states are still with out electricity on Sunday after thunderstorms and intense wind barreled through the mid-Atlantic region on Saturday killing 12 people, The New York Times said.

Thunderstorms began to accumulate outside of Chicago and moved east to south striking Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, District of Columbia, and New Jersey, NPR News reported.

According to NPR, the type of storms can be described as land hurricanes, also termed derecho, because wind reaches a speed of 58 miles per hour or higher.

The high temperatures and humidity across the region was what allowed the derecho system to reach the intensity and wind speed that caused so much destruction, meteorologists from The Washington Post explained.

Damages included, uprooted trees, blown off roofs, and ruined power lines, The New York Times said. 12 people were killed and at least 20 people were injured through the course of the storms.

Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia all declared states of emergency and President Obama signed a disaster declaration for West Virginia.

10 Postal workers Began a four-day hunger strike on Monday in Washington D. C. to protest against the Unites States Postal Service plan to cut thousands of jobs and consolidate plants.

The postal workers, who call themselves Community and Postal Workers United, will be demonstrating at the Capitol through out the week, as well as in front of the Postal Service Headquarters and the offices of The Washington Post, said CNN.

The postal workers participating in the hunger strike are primarily protesting against the healthcare pre-fund mandate which requires the Postal Service to pre-pay retiree healthcare and benefit funds, NPR News reported.

By removing this mandate, the postal workers believe that it would solve many of the financial difficulties the U.S. Postal Service is facing right now. These issues have prompted a plan that will consolidate or close 229 plants and cut 28,000 jobs within the next two years, beginning next week, said CNN.

Tom Dodge, 58, is one of the postal workers participating in the hunger strike. "Rallies and marches just aren't working anymore," Dodge said. "It's time to take a stand on this."

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo (NAHB) builder sentiment index released Monday said that the index for June is the highest it has been since May 2007, reported NPR News. The increase has been occurring for seven of the past nine months.

Barry Rutenberg, chairman of The National Association of Home Builders has said that in specific housing markets, there is a "gradual improvement" which he accredits to low prices and interests rates. The index is primarily a survey given out every month to home builders across the country to record what the overall sentiment is about the housing market. NHAB has been distributing the survey for the past 25 years.

While the June index is a positive step and encouraging news, the index is still only at 29. For the housing market to be in good condition, the index has to has to be at 50.

In early June, TIME Magazine reported on the rapidly increasing rental rates in the United States. The average rental rate rose 6 percent in May and in some states rental prices rose over 10 percent.

Such extreme increases, makes one wonder why more people are continuing to rent rather than flock to the low pricing and interest rates of the housing market.

According NAHB's Chief Economist David Crowe builders are reporting that "overly tight lending conditions and inaccurate appraisals" are some of the primary deterrents in the market. In addition, the economy as a whole is still suffering and foreclosures are still fresh in people's minds. When NAHB's index reaches a number more near the status "good" people will be ready to take a risk again.

On Friday Morning the Obama administration announced a policy change on immigration that will safeguard almost 800,000 young, undocumented, immigrants from being deported while also providing them with work permits, The Huffington Post reported.

To be eligible for the deportation waiver, a person must have lived in the United States for five continuous years, was under the age of 16 when brought to the United States, is younger than 30 years old, has no criminal history, graduated from high school or earned a GED, or served in the military. The policy will not however provide, nor lead to citizenship.

Immediate disapproval was voiced by Lamar Smith, U.S. Representative R-San Antonio, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, by calling the shift in policy a "breach of faith with the American people" and that it has "horrible consequences for the unemployed Americans looking for jobs," reported the Texas Tribune.

The announcement was given by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who said "Our nation's immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner. But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case."

The Texas Tribune also acknowledged the possible "political ploy" behind announcing the policy during election year but more importantly, a week prior to President Obama's speech at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Official's annual conference.

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