1 | Washington Health-Care Battle Heats Up With details of the much heralded health-care overhaul beginning to trickle through the capital, interest groups are gearing up for a fight. President Obama's June 13 proposal to cut $313 billion in Medicare and Medicaid spending over 10 years rankled hospitals, and doctors bristled because of his refusal to endorse caps on malpractice claims in a speech to the American Medical Association two days later. Some physicians also oppose a public-health-insurance option, a centerpiece of Obama's plan. Anticipated draft legislation has been delayed while Capitol Hill continues to haggle over how to slash costs and extend coverage to the 48 million Americans without health insurance. Obama has exhorted lawmakers to produce a bill for him to sign by October.
2 | Russia Planning for A Post-U.S. World Russian President Dmitri Medvedev hosted the first summit of the world's largest emerging economies to discuss efforts to reduce their reliance on the U.S. The so-called BRIC states--Brazil, Russia, India and China--are forecast to become four of the six biggest economies in the world by 2050. The group, which holds some 40% of the world's gold and hard-currency reserves, has announced plans to shift some out of U.S. dollars. "There can be no successful global currency system," said Medvedev, "if the financial instruments used are denominated in only one currency."
3 | Tel Aviv Netanyahu's Change of Heart For the first time since assuming office in April, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu endorsed the prospect of establishing a demilitarized Palestinian state. Netanyahu's departure from his hawkish stance against statehood was welcomed as a "positive movement" by President Obama, who has pressured Israel to resume peace efforts. But senior Palestinian officials vehemently rejected Netanyahu's statements; negotiator Saeb Erekat said the Prime Minister's intransigence on crucial sticking points--like his insistence on demilitarization and refusal to consider the dismantling of Israeli settlements in the West Bank--"closed the door to permanent-status negotiations."
4 | London Reassessing the Road to War British Prime Minister Gordon Brown authorized a long-awaited inquiry into Britain's role in the deeply unpopular war in Iraq that has claimed the lives of 179 British soldiers. But news that the inquiry would be closed to the public and that its results would not come out until after the next election outraged critics and opposition parties. Foreign Secretary David Millibrand dismissed claims of "an Establishment stitch-up," saying, "If you are looking for a great conspiracy, you are not going to find it."
5 | Bermuda Free at Last Four former Guantánamo Bay detainees have been released in Bermuda as the U.S. continues its push to shut down the facility by 2010. Others have been transferred to Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Chad, while Italy and the U.K. say they will take former prisoners. More than 500 detainees have been sent home in recent years; 50 have been cleared and are ready to be released, and 220 others await trial.
Recently cleared detainees find new homes:
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BERMUDA CHAD FRANCE IRAQ ITALY PALAU SAUDI ARABIA U.K.