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In an attack that British Muslims say was aimed directly at them, a man plowed a van into a crowd of Muslim worshippers outside a north London mosque early Monday, injuring 10 people. London police are investigating it as a terrorist incident.
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  • Struggling to advance his agenda in Washington, President Donald Trump traveled to the Midwest on Wednesday for a raucous rally with his loyal supporters — the kind of event he relished before winning the White House. Trump touched down Wednesday evening in rainy Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and headed to a local community college, where he got a look at agriculture technology innovations before leading a campaign rally. He reveled in Georgia Republican Karen Handel's congressional victory in an election viewed as an early referendum on his presidency. 'We're 5-0 in special elections,' Trump said in front of a boisterous crowd that packed a downtown arena. 'The truth is, people love us ... they haven't figured it out yet.' He also applauded Republican Ralph Norman, who notched a slimmer-than-expected win in a special election to fill the South Carolina congressional seat vacated by Mick Mulvaney, and mocked Handel's challenger, Jon Ossoff, saying the Democrats 'spent $30 million on this kid who forgot to live in the district.' Trump, no stranger to victory laps, turned his visit to a battleground state he captured in November into a celebration of his resilience despite the cloud of investigations that has enveloped his administration and sent his poll numbers tumbling. With the appearance in Cedar Rapids, he has held five rallies in the first five months in office. The event underscores Trump's comfort in a campaign setting. He laughed off the occasional heckler, repeated riffs from last year's rallies and appeared far more at ease when going after Democrats in front of adoring crowds than trying to push through his own legislative agenda from the confines of the White House. Trump's aides are making a renewed push to get the president out of Washington. The capital is consumed with the investigation into Russian meddling in last year's election and Trump's firing of his FBI director. Campaign rallies energize Trump by placing him in front of supporters who have stuck by him and are likely to dismiss the investigations as Beltway chatter. Iowa, with its large share of independent voters, could be a proving ground for whether Trump can count on the support of voters beyond his base. Unaffiliated voters — or 'no party' voters, as they are known in Iowa — make up 36 percent of the electorate, compared with 33 percent who register Republican and 31 percent registered as Democrat. Self-identified independents in Iowa voted for Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton by a 13-percentage-point margin last year, according to exit polls conducted for The Associated Press and television networks. That margin helped Trump take the state by nearly 9 points after Barack Obama won it for Democrats the previous two elections. Trump held a Des Moines rally in December as part of his transition-era 'thank you' tour of states he had won, but has not been back to Iowa since. Wednesday night, he touted his administration's efforts to roll back regulations, mused about putting solar panels on a Mexican border wall, derided wind power for killing birds in a state that uses a lot of it and revealed that he urged the Senate to create a health care plan 'with heart. Add some money to it!' He avoided any discussion of the scandals surrounding his presidency, other than one brief reference to the 'witch hunt,' which is what he has dubbed the probes into his campaign's ties to Russia. Trump's evening in Iowa began with a tribute to former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, whom he had just appointed the United States' ambassador to China. He hailed Branstad, the longest-serving governor in the nation's history and an early Trump backer, as 'a legend' and 'one great man.' Trump's stop at Kirkwood Community College was intended to draw attention to the school's advancements in high-tech agriculture, but he resisted sitting behind the wheel of a virtual reality device that simulated a giant combine harvester. He was joined by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross as part of the administration's latest theme week, this time to highlight the importance of technology. He later touted the wealth of Ross and chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, saying: 'Those particular positions, I just don't want a poor person. Does that make sense?' But much of Trump's attention was on the suburbs of Atlanta, in the 6th Congressional District race. Democrats had lavished attention and money on Tuesday's special election, hoping for a victory that would underscore Republican worries about Trump and serve as a harbinger of a Democratic wave in 2018. Instead, Handel's victory, in a traditional Republican stronghold that rarely produces a competitive contest, was met with a sigh of relief among the GOP. Trump tweeted several times during the night and capped the night off with a text message to supporters referring to his 'Make America Great Again' slogan: 'The MAGA Mandate is stronger than ever. BIG LEAGUE.' ___ Associated Press writer Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report. ___ Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire
  • It was a rather pleasant spring and now the first summer month too has been cooler than normal. Hot weather has not lasted more than a couple or few days so far this year. It sure saves the lawn and bushes a lot of stress and saves the watering bill and the A/C bill, so I like it. But I am sure sun tanning fans are not thrilled. It still looks like from today past the 4th of July real hot weather will continue to be hard to come by. Then odds of some heat go up if the new Weekly European Model Ensemble run is right. 1-15 Day GFS Ensemble average temperature departure from normal: End of June-early July rainfall amounts GFS Ensemble and Euro Ensemble: Hope for some drying beyond the current wet spell:      European Model the week ending July 7th: Then the model suggests more upper-level ridging which would bring warmer and drier if correct. The week ending July 14th: The model projects not dry weather in Georgia but less wet to open the new month, as the bigger rains are projected to shift north of here. None-the-less, it looks like odds for rain will be above-normal right into the start of August. So no drought and no extreme heat here. Week ending July 21st: Week ending July 28th: FOLLOW me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB
  • Minneapolis' first openly gay police chief responded sharply Thursday to a decision by organizers of the Twin Cities Pride Parade to ask her department to minimize its participation in Sunday's annual event due to tensions over the police shooting of Philando Castile. They said in a statement that they're trying to respect the pain that many people are feeling following last week's acquittal of St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez, who killed the black school cafeteria worker during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights last July. But Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau, who is lesbian, sent a letter to Twin Cities Pride executive director Dot Belstler calling the decision 'divisive' and saying it 'really hurt so many in our community,' including LGBT officers and their families. Harteau said she was 'beyond disappointed' that she wasn't consulted before the group went public with its request, and she pointed out that she was the parade's grand marshal three years ago. 'Despite your decision, I assure you that as we have in the past, our team of officers assigned to work the parade will do all they can to ensure it is a safe and successful event,' the chief wrote. Amy Brockman, a spokeswoman for Twin Cities Pride, said the group was preparing a response. The organizers said they're required to have a police car lead the parade to make sure the route is clear, so this year it will be a lone unmarked squad car and there will be limited police participation in the parade itself. The parade, which draws about 350,000 people, has started in previous years with several marked squad cars with lights and sirens, as well as officers marching. Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, called the decision shameful and disturbing. 'For an organization that prides itself on being accepting and inclusive, the hypocrisy amazes me,' he said. St. Paul Police Deputy Chief Mary Nash, the department's LGBTQ liaison, said 12 to 25 St. Paul officers have taken part in previous parades. Some are LGBTQ officers, while others walked as supporters, Nash said. 'I understand that people are angry and we can respect their feelings, but ... if we can't work together, it gets more challenging to become better as a community, as a police department.' Darcie Baumann, the board chairwoman of Twin Cities Pride, said the group didn't intend to make anyone feel excluded. 'Unfortunately, we have hurt and offended the LGBTQ police officers, and that was not at all our intent,' Baumann said. 'But in the wake of the verdict, we want to be sensitive to the population that is grieving ... and seeing those uniforms brings angst and tension and the feeling of unrest.
  • Parole was denied Thursday for convicted killer Patricia Krenwinkel — a follower of cult leader Charles Manson — after officials investigated whether battered women's syndrome affected her state of mind at the time of the notorious murders nearly five decades ago. Krenwinkel, 69, was previously denied parole 13 times for the 1969 slayings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four other people. The next night, she helped kill grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary in what prosecutors say was an attempt by Manson to ignite a race war. Parole commissioners postponed the latest parole hearing in December while officials investigated whether Krenwinkel suffered from battered women's syndrome. They denied her parole for five more years after resuming the hearing at the California Institution for Women east of Los Angeles, where Krenwinkel is incarcerated. The board did not immediately release the reason for its recommendation. Krenwinkel is the longest serving female inmate in California. State law requires commissioners to give 'great weight' to whether physical, emotional or mental abuse affected offenders to the point that 'it appears the criminal behavior was a result of that victimization.' Krenwinkel's attorney Keith Wattley did not respond to requests for comment before the hearing. Krenwinkel was a 19-year-old secretary living with her older sister when she met the then 33-year-old Manson at a party. She testified that she left everything behind three days later to follow him because she believed they had a budding romantic relationship. She said in December that her feelings faded when she realized Manson was routinely sleeping with other women including underage girls, became physically and emotionally abusive, and trafficked Krenwinkel to other men for sex. She said she left him twice only to be brought back, that she was usually under the influence of drugs and rarely left alone. 'I thought I loved him. I thought — it started with love, and then turned to fear,' she said. She also recounted how she chased down and repeatedly stabbed Abigail Folger, 26, heiress to a coffee fortune, at Tate's home on Aug. 9, 1969, and helped Manson and other followers kill grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary the following night. Manson and his right-hand man, Charles 'Tex' Watson, told her to 'do something witchy,' she said, so she stabbed La Bianca in the stomach with a fork, then took a rag and wrote 'Helter Skelter,' ''Rise' and 'Death to Pigs' on the walls with his blood. Prosecutors say the slayings were intended to spark an apocalyptic race war that Manson called 'Helter Skelter,' after a Beatles song. Intimate partner battery was also briefly discussed during the last parole hearing for Manson follower Leslie Van Houten, 67, in 2016. The commissioners recommended that she be paroled, but Gov. Jerry Brown blocked her release. Krenwinkel became the state's longest-serving female inmate when fellow Manson follower Susan Atkins, the third woman convicted in the series of slayings, died of cancer in prison in 2009. Anthony DiMaria, the nephew of victim Thomas Jay Sebring who died during the first massacre, criticized commissioners' consideration of intimate partner battering, part of what he said 'has become the twisted metamorphosis of a killer into victim.' 'Sadly, there are millions of intimate partner battery victims in this country,' he said in remarks prepared for Thursday's hearing. 'But fortunately, it's safe to say, that almost none of them suddenly become a maniacal predator that stalks, pounces, butchers and mutilates her victims.
  • Summer travel season is in full swing and if a family trip to The Aloha State is on your wish list, I’m here to tell you how you can travel in style without breaking the bank. A family vacation to Hawaii may be more affordable than you think! This past December, we took our entire family — six people including our children’s significant others — on a 12-day trip to Hawaii for less than $3000.00 total. That is less than $600 per person. Considering Hawaii is often one of the more expensive places to visit, my goal as a super-saver was to find a way to make this happen on a budget. 1. Book travel using points Start accumulating points NOW. We used our travel rewards cards for nearly every bill and household purchase we possibly could and then paid the balance each month. This is KEY. You don’t want to go into debt acquiring points or you will defeat the purpose. Make sure you use the money you would have used to pay the bills and pay the credit cards off monthly. Nerd Wallet is a good resource for travel reward cards and showing which credit cards offer the best travel rewards. On some airlines, they allow you to book using your points one year in advance. The earlier you book, the more options you have. 2. Look for special promotions with branded cards   I received an application for an American Airlines card which offered 100,000 in miles for opening the account and making a specific amount of purchases. We opened an account and used this card for bills. This allowed us to buy four of the six airline tickets using points – a BIG savings. The same is true for many hotel brands, like Hilton and Marriott. They have rewards credit cards that provide you double – sometimes triple – points on certain purchases. I was able to get triple points recently using my Marriott Rewards card. The Points Guy tracks hotel credit card deals and is a great resource when knowing which credit cards to choose. Bonus: We were able to use our points for two rental cars, which saved us around $1,500 and allowed us to visit different beaches on the island. Again – do NOT go into debt acquiring points. Make sure you can pay off your balance each month. 3. Pack your own snacks and water bottles Airport snacks and drinks can add up quickly. It was my goal to limit the amount of food that we purchased inside the airport.  I asked our family ahead of time what snacks they wanted and visited the grocery store before our long travel day so I could pack items in my carry on. Yes, it is true, you can’t take water through security — but you can take an empty water bottle and fill it up at the free water fountains once through security. You can save $10, $20, even $30 per person just by doing this. 4. Rent a private home AirBNB and VRBO have changed the way many people travel. The downside is you can’t use points to pay for lodging, but the upside is that you can save a significant amount of money. For our Hawaii trip, we rented through VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner). We went with another family and split the cost of the rental. In addition, being in a home allowed us to buy groceries, so we were able to eat most meals at home. For budgeting purposes, we decided in advance to have two lunches and two dinners at local restaurants. On other days, we packed sandwiches and snacks for the beach. 5. Set spending limits for kids Before we even got on the airplane, we discussed budgets with the kids and gave each one a set amount of money for their personal spending. This eliminated the constant requests for money and empowered them to make choices around how to spend their cash, whether it was for parasailing, food, or buying a t-shirt. THE FINAL BREAKDOWN Airline tickets – Points Rental Car – Points Food – $700, including restaurants Home Rental – $2250 for 12 days Grand Total – $2950 for six people – less than $600 per person, or $50 per person/day With a little planning and discipline, you CAN take a dream vacation on a budget! More ways to save on travel Clark’s secret to finding the cheapest flights possible This free email subscription will save you hundreds on flights Hotel Booking Guide: Scoring Hotel Deals Clark shares his travel predictions for the rest of 2017 Other stories you might like from clark.com: Home Retail alert: Ann Taylor, Dress Barn, Lane Bryant and Justice closing stores soon 28 ways to bring in extra cash each month
  • Abnormally dry weather may bedevil farmers and ranchers, but is a boon for American white pelicans nesting on a North Dakota island known as North America's largest refuge for the big-billed birds. A dry spell appears to have curbed years of wet weather and surging water levels that threatened to swamp the main nesting island at the Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge, said Neil Shook, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist and refuge manager. 'The rising water was concerning,' said Shook, who estimated the island has shrunk by half in recent years, to 12 acres, or about a dozen football fields. But the big birds, some of the largest in North America measuring 6 feet from bill to tail, still have plenty of nesting room, and an aerial survey completed this week showed some 27,120 breeding adults have returned from as far away as California and the Gulf Coast to raise their chicks. The count, which is down about 6,600 birds from last year, still is among the highest recorded at the 4,385-acre refuge north of Medina. A record 35,466 birds were counted at the refuge in 2000. The pelicans normally begin arriving in North Dakota in April and stay through September, raising their young and feasting at small prairie ponds within a 100-mile radius of the refuge. Chase Lake historically has high alkaline levels that make it unable to support aquatic life. The main nesting island was first used by pelicans in the early 1990s after an island previously preferred by the pelicans was swamped by rising lake water. But other islands over the decades have cropped up when parts of peninsulas are flooded. Shook said small colonies of nesting pelicans also have taken hold in the past few years in nearby Devils Lake and at the Audubon National Wildlife Refuge in central North Dakota. Shook said it's unclear whether the shrinking nesting island at Chase Lake has caused to pelicans to relocate there. The pelicans have puzzled biologists before. In 2004, nearly 30,000 pelicans departed the Chase Lake refuge, leaving their chicks and eggs behind. A year later, the refuge saw a massive die-off of pelican chicks, followed by an exodus of their parents. Predators, weather, diseases and other factors were considered but biologists have never pinpointed the cause of the pelican deaths and departures. Shook said that it may have just been a natural correction. Since that scare, the population has remained healthy and hundreds of people continue to visit the refuge each year to see the nesting site from afar or in flight, where the acrobatic birds with a 10-foot wingspan are hard to miss. 'We know (pelicans) are a draw and something that motivates people to travel to North Dakota,' said Mike Jensen, a spokesman for the state tourism department. Sherry Leslie, who heads a North Dakota birdwatching club, said viewing the pelicans also is exciting for locals. 'People think of pelicans out in the ocean and don't think they are in a state like North Dakota,' she said. 'It's just a neat feeling seeing them circling around. You never get tired of seeing them.' Pelicans have been monitored at Chase Lake since 1905, when the birds numbered about 50. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt designated the site as a bird refuge in 1908, when many of the birds were being killed for their feathers or for target practice. Biologists have been doing aerial surveys of the nesting grounds since 1972. They use photographs scanned into a computer program to count the number of nests. The white pelican lives for about 25 years and breeds only once a year. Males and females take turns caring for their young. Typically, two eggs are laid in each nest, but only one chick survives.