Saturday, July 4
FOURTH OF JULY
America ushers in July 4 with hot dogs, hot music, cool beer
UNDATED (AP) — From coast to coast, Americans are celebrating the country's independence with family gatherings, fireworks, parades and food.
Philadelphia started its celebration a little early with the Liberty Block Party on Friday near Independence Hall. There was music on three stages, treats from local food trucks and restaurants and a beer garden. The Philly Pops performed patriotic tunes.
Saturday's events include a Celebration of Freedom ceremony, a parade through the city's historic district and a free concert and fireworks.
Washington will have its parade and the traditional fireworks on the National Mall.
New York has Nathans, where the famous hot dog eating contest is a feature event, along with Macy's annual fireworks display Saturday night.
And the traditional Boston Pops concert and fireworks are set for Boston.
Hundreds of new citizens will also take the oath of allegiance in special ceremonies across the country today.
FOURTH OF JULY-TROOPS
Some troops overseas are getting pizzas as a holiday treat
CHICAGO (AP) — Hot dogs and burgers may be on the menu for many Americans celebrating the Fourth of July but for some troops serving overseas, a different treat awaits -- pizza.
Pizzas4Patriots, a suburban Chicago-based group founded by a veteran, has arranged for 5,000 pies to be shipped to Afghanistan, and another thousand to Kuwait. Mark Evans, a retired Air Force master sergeant, says it's a way of giving back to service members -- literally providing a slice of home.
Evans' group partners with businesses like Rich Products to make the pies and DHL to fly them. The pies are put on dry ice and driven to forward operating bases before being served.
Evans says Pizzas4Patriots has sent 150,000 pizzas to deployed troops for the Super Bowl and July 4th over the past 8 years -- roughly a million slices. He says they also deliver pizzas to veterans' hospitals across the U.S.
Mosque bombing kills 15 al-Qaida fighters in Syria
BEIRUT (AP) — Activists say a bomb has exploded inside a mosque where al-Qaida's branch in Syria was holding a fast-breaking meal, killing at least 15.
Activists say the bombing inside the Salem Mosque in the northern town of Ariha occurred shortly after sunset Friday when scores of Nusra Front members gathered to break their fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Saturday that the explosion killed 31 Nusra Front members including five commanders.
Syria-based activist Ahmad al-Ahmad said 15 Nusra Front fighters were killed and more than 30 wounded.
The differences in casualty estimates could not be immediately explained since the Nusra Front cordoned off the area.
Egypt's president visits troops in embattled north Sinai
CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has travelled to the troubled northern part of the Sinai Peninsula to inspect troops, after Islamic State-linked militants struck a deadly blow against the military this week in a coordinated assault.
An official close to the president says el-Sissi met members of the army and police Saturday, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to release the information otherwise.
The army said 17 soldiers and over 100 militants were killed in Wednesday's brazen attack, although before the release of its official statement, several senior security officials from multiple branches of Egypt's forces in Sinai had said that scores more troops also died in the fighting.
El-Sissi has not addressed the public since the Sinai attack.
Prime Minister calls for 'no' vote
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The campaigning is over in Greece and residents are set to go to the polls tomorrow to vote on their future.
Polls show a dead heat over whether to defy creditors and push for better bailout repayment terms or essentially seek new political leadership to find a compromise. But most Greeks also want to continue using the euro common currency.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (TSEE'-prahs) has put the future of his new left-wing government on the line, indicating he would likely step aside if voters choose to make a deal with creditors.
Greece's prime minister is urging citizens to vote "no" in Sunday's austerity referendum and shun those who threaten the country with economic ultimatums.
Murder complaints filed over capsized Philippine ferry
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Police in a central Philippine city have filed multiple murder complaints against the owner and the crew of a ferry that capsized shortly after pulling out of port, leaving more than 50 dead.
Senior Inspector Rio Tan of the Ormoc City police says the complaints were filed with the local prosecutor late Friday as the 36-ton M/B Kim Nirvana was lifted from the water.
Regional coast guard commander Capt. Pedro Tinampay said Saturday that at least 59 died and 145 survived, including all 18 crew members.
Tinampay says a marine investigation has begun and it will also determine how many people actually were aboard the vessel.
The ferry overturned minutes after pulling out of the port on its voyage Thursday to an island to the south.
Puerto Rico to issue $400M in TRANs amid economic crisis
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico's governor has signed a bill that allows certain public agencies to buy up to $400 million in tax and revenue anticipation notes.
Alejandro Garcia Padilla said Friday that the bill aims to help boost the liquidity of the U.S. territory's Treasury Department amid an economic crisis. Such notes are usually repaid with upcoming tax collections.
Puerto Rico's Government Development Bank will oversee a fund for revenue generated by the notes. The government can access the fund if the Treasury Department's monthly revenue forecasts exceed collections.
The announcement comes just days after Garcia said the island's $72 billion public debt is unpayable and that he would seek a payment moratorium from bondholders.
The island is struggling to emerge from a nearly decade-long economic slump.
SAN FRANCISCO PIER SHOOTING
Feds: San Francisco pier shooting suspect deported 5 times
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal agency says a man suspected in the shooting death of a woman at a busy San Francisco tourist destination has seven felony convictions and has been deported five times, most recently in 2009.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice said Friday that her agency turned Francisco Sanchez over to San Francisco police in March on an outstanding drug warrant.
Officers arrested Sanchez about an hour after Thursday's slaying of Kathryn Steinle at Pier 14.
Police Sgt. Michael Andraychak said Thursday that Sanchez was on probation for an unspecified conviction.
Kice says ICE issued a detainer for Sanchez in March, requesting to be notified if he was going to be released. Kice says the detainer was not honored.
The sheriff's department, which handles detainer requests, plans to release a statement Friday afternoon.
CREW MEMBER OVERBOARD
Coast Guard suspends Alaska search for overboard crew member
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Coast Guard has suspended a search for a cruise ship crew member who was reported overboard off Alaska.
Alaska State Troopers identified the Norwegian Sun crew member as 27-year-old Jonas Fillipe de Miranda Santiago of Brazil. No hometown was given for de Miranda Santiago, who went missing Thursday south of Douglas Island.
Coast Guard Lt. Colin Boyle says footage from the security system of the Norwegian Cruise Line ship shows the crew member jumping overboard without a life jacket at 4:16 a.m. Thursday. The search was suspended shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday.
Troopers say they were notified shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday. Troopers say the crew member was reported missing to the ship's security just before 2 p.m. Thursday.
Norwegian Cruise Line media representatives did not immediately respond to phone and email messages seeking comment Friday.
FERRIS WHEEL STUCK
400-foot Ferris wheel stops: All 66 riders safely taken off
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A fire official says firefighters have safely removed all 66 riders who were stranded aboard The Orlando Eye after the 400-foot Ferris wheel stopped moving for more than 45 minutes Friday.
Orange County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Kathleen Kennedy told The Associated Press power to the attraction was restored with a generator and that firefighters, some on ladders, got riders out of the enclosed capsules by manually opening the doors.
"All guests are safely evacuated," she told AP, minutes after the end of a more than three-hour effort to remove stranded riders.
She says no one was hurt and there was no immediate indication what caused the observation wheel to stop. Elite rescue climbers stood by, but didn't deploy.
No one was immediately available from The Orlando Eye for comment.