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foreign affairs
July 5, 2014
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Perhaps hoping to snag a last-minute invite to D.C's fireworks extravaganza, Russian President Vladimir Putin called President Obama on Friday to wish him a happy Fourth of July. Putin told Obama he hoped the two nations could "continue successful development on a pragmatic and equal basis despite the current differences and difficulties," according to a Kremlin statement.

"The president also stressed that Russia and the United States are both countries bearing particular responsibility for ensuring international stability and security," the statement went on, "and should therefore cooperate not just for the benefit of their own peoples but also in the entire world's interest." Jon Terbush

For those who have everything
10:48 a.m. ET
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"The only thing better than a remote-controlled plane is a remote-controlled boat" — unless you can find a toy that handles both functions, says Adam Clark Estes at Gizmodo. Parrot's Hydrofoil Minidrone ($179) is the first mini-drone that can capture video by air or sea. In a pool or lake, the vehicle acts like a fan boat: Four copter blades propel it to a speed of 6 mph as it skims across the water under the control of a smartphone or tablet. When you remove the quadcopter, that component can fly in the air at double the speed. It's not a game changer, but "it's a really cool new trick." The Week Staff

Democracy in action
10:28 a.m. ET
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This past spring, the city of Columbia, Missouri created a very gerrymandered community improvement district (CID), a special designation of territory within which voters can levy extra taxes to fund projects like roadwork or landscaping of public green spaces. Per state law, if there are no voters registered in a CID, property owners get to make the tax decision instead.

That was property owners' plan in Columbia until they found out that a single University of Missouri college student, 23-year-old Jen Henderson, is actually a registered voter in the new district. While the CID was carefully designed to exclude residences, Henderson lives in a guest house in the area and registered to vote at that address.

Now, Henderson is the sole deciding voter in a referendum to impose a 0.5 percent tax on goods — including groceries — sold within the CID. She's leaning toward a "no" vote, especially after the CID's director asked her to unregister and forfeit her vote. "Taxing [nearby residents'] food is kind of sad," too, Henderson says, particularly when the CID director "is going to be making like $70,000 a year off of this whole deal. These people make a quarter of that. They can barely afford to go buy food, and you’re taxing their food."

The architects of the CID are considering canceling the vote altogether if Henderson commits to voting no. Bonnie Kristian

2016
9:58 a.m. ET
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Jeb Bush better watch his back — and not just for Donald Trump's incessant stabs. While Bush and Trump have been noisily duking it out, another Republican presidential contender has been "quietly rising in the polls in New Hampshire," The Hill reports. That candidate? Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

With many an eye in the Republican Party turned to Trump's antics and Bush's reactions to said antics, Kasich has been "capitalizing on a strong debate performance," as evidenced by his second place showing in New Hampshire in a Public Policy Polling survey released this week. Moreover, the PPP poll also showed that Kasich might just be Hillary Clinton's toughest competition in the state.

Kasich's numbers are potentially bad news for Bush. The Hill reports that if Kasich manages to top Bush in New Hampshire, that could shake up the remainder of the primary. "Of all the candidates out there in terms of corralling the establishment voters, Kasich is a clear and present danger of taking them," Republican strategist Ford O'Connell told The Hill. While Bush won't be an easy one to beat, O'Connell said, "if [Kasich] can actually win New Hampshire, then the game board changes." Becca Stanek

This just in
9:35 a.m. ET
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Vester Flanagan (also known as Bryce Williams, the name he used as a television news anchor) appeared to have planned to make an escape after murdering Virginia's WDBJ7 journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward, The Washington Post reports. New details revealed that Flanagan had a wig, a briefcase with three license plates, a shawl, an umbrella, and sunglasses in his car.

The car itself was also an indication that Flanagan hoped to get away with murder. It was a rental he had checked out weeks ahead of time, indicating the killing of Parker and Ward was premeditated.

Flanagan was likely tracked down by the police due to a text message he sent to a friend, in which he mentioned "having done something stupid"; the signal from his number could have aided police in finding his location and chasing him down the highway, CNN reports. While police were in pursuit, Flanagan pulled off the road and shot himself, then died after being taken to the hospital.

A Glock pistol, ammunition, 17 stamped envelopes, and a "to do" list were also found in Flanagan's car. Jeva Lange

It's what's inside that matters
9:01 a.m. ET

In Ben Carson's opinion, the war on women isn't about women — it's about babies. The Republican presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon explained at a Thursday event in Little Rock, Arkansas: "They tell you that there’s a war on women. There is no war on women. There may be a war on what’s inside of women, but there is no war on women in this country."

As to what exactly Caron meant by "what's inside of women," he did not say. The Cut jokingly hypothesizes that he meant "there's a war on women's inner confidence, or even a war on the sexual exploits of Anastasia Steele's inner goddess," but, alas, his past comments seem to make it clear that Carson was really just talking about fetuses. Cosmo noted that Carson once told Fox News, "There is no war on [women], the war is on babies." Because the "unborn can't defend themselves," he said that "what we need to do is re-educate the women to understand that they are the defenders of these babies." Becca Stanek

This just in
8:40 a.m. ET

Christopher Starks, a Savannah State University junior, died of gunshot wounds after an altercation at the school's student union, The New York Times reports. No arrests have been made in connection to the shooting.

Located in Savannah, Georgia, SSU is a historically black university of about 5,000 students.

According to a spokesperson, administrators have few details on the incident. "While it may be natural to want to protect an associate," spokeswoman Loretta Heyward said in a statement urging anyone with information to come forward, "the lack of disclosure may do more harm than good in the long run." Jeva Lange

Cars
8:39 a.m. ET

"This is it, the best car Consumer Reports has ever tested," says Jake Fisher, the consumer magazine's auto test director, standing next to the Tesla Model S P85D sedan. "Simply put, the fully electric car is a glimpse into the future of the automotive industry." How impressed was Consumer Reports with the luxury car? It originally gave it 103 out of 100, forcing the magazine to recalibrate its rating system so the P85D got a mere 100 — still beating the regular Tesla Model S, which scored 99 in 2013, under the old system.

Along with being the highest-rated, it's also the fastest car the magazine has tested, and more efficient than even the regular Tesla Model S, Fisher said. But there's one more superlative to come: At $127,820, it's also the most expensive car Consumer Reports has ever tested. And "it has imperfections," Consumer Reports says. "The interior materials aren't as opulent as other high-ticket automobiles, and its ride is firmer and louder than our base Model S."

But in terms of performance, efficiency, and speed — going from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds with a silent electric motor is "frighteningly eerie," and the car is "so explosively quick that Tesla has created an 'insane' driving mode," the magazine said, creating "near-instant g-forces" that "can otherwise be achieved only by leaping off a building— literally" — this Tesla is "the closest to perfect we've ever seen," Fisher says. Elon Musk is probably not blushing. After all that gushing, you can watch Tesla's P85D in action below. Peter Weber

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