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Top Story:  Russia denies paying bounties for US and NATO troops killed in Afghanistan.

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Accessed on 29 June 2020, 2108 UTC, Post 333.

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Russ Roberts
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In the news today

Trump denies knowledge of Russian bounties in Afghanistan, Congress seeks answers

US President Donald Trump delivers remarks to US troops during an unannounced visit to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, November 28, 2019.
Credit: Tom Brenner/Reuters

Several US service members are believed to have been killed as a result of bounties offered by a Russian military intelligence unit to Taliban-linked militants in Afghanistan, The Washington Post reports. Last week, The New York Times broke the story that US intelligence officials had concluded Russia was secretly offering bounties to kill US and NATO coalition forces in the country, possibly to destabilize ongoing peace talks or as revenge for the death of Russian mercenaries in Syria in 2018, though motivations remain unclear. 

The Taliban rejected the allegations, and Russia denounced the report, calling it "fake news." US President Donald Trump echoed the Kremlin's line, accusing The New York Times of a possible "fabricated Russia Hoax." According to The Times, special forces and intelligence officers alerted superiors as early as January of the suspected Russian plot, and Trump had been briefed on this intelligence in late March, but the White House failed to take decisive action. The president denied that he was alerted to Russia's efforts to pay bounties, adding that intelligence officials had not found the report credible and therefore had not briefed him. Trump then claimed on Twitter, "Nobody’s been tougher on Russia than the Trump Administration," and proceeded with an ad hominem attack on his presumptive presidential challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden. 

Congressional lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have demanded answers; select members are set to be briefed on Monday. Tune into The World today, as we plan to speak to Gen. David Patreus, former CIA chief, about the implications of this report. 

What The World is following

The global death toll for the novel coronavirus has surpassed half a million, with more than 10 million people testing positive for COVID-19. More than one-fifth of those cases are in the United States, where vast inconsistencies in local, state and federal responses have failed to curtail the outbreak. The pandemic, writes the Washington Post, is also accelerating the "corrosion" of the "golden age of globalization."  

Several security officers and attackers were killed during a firefight at Pakistan's stock exchange in Karachi Monday. The Baluchistan Liberation Army has claimed responsibility for the attack. In recent years, the separatist group has targeted Chinese interests in the region, which is a center of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

In France, The Greens party made gains in nationwide local elections marked by low turnout. President Emmanuel Macron followed up the vote, in which his party had a poor showing, by outlining his environmental agenda. Meanwhile, after traveling to the US for a photo-op with President Donald Trump last week, Poland's President Andrezj Duda failed to get the "Trump bump" needed to secure a first-round win in elections on Sunday; a run-off election will be held in two weeks against liberal Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski.  


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From The World

This Latina teen says the pandemic will mark her generation — and shape her vote

Marlene Herrera, 18, is a first-time voter in San Diego County.
Credit: Adriana Heldiz/The World

The mental health impacts of the novel coronavirus pandemic will be felt for years — especially by young adults. Marlene Herrera, a first-time voter in San Diego, said it's shaping how she'll vote this fall. And when the Black Lives Matter protests began, she finally decided which candidate she'll support.

As Lebanon’s financial crisis worsens, migrant workers are being dumped on the streets like ‘trash’

Ethiopian domestic workers wearing masks sit together with their belongings in front of the Ethiopian consulate in Hazmiyeh, Lebanon, June 8, 2020.
Credit: Mohamed Azakir/Reuters

In recent weeks, as Lebanon’s economic crisis worsens, about 100 Ethiopian women have been dumped at the Ethiopian Embassy by their Lebanese employers. Human rights advocates say the migrants have little to no recourse, and that the situation is bound to deteriorate further as more people in the country cannot afford to pay domestic workers. The coronavirus restrictions also complicate matters.


Morning focus

Canceled flights are no match for Juan Manuel Ballestero, who crossed the Atlantic in a small sailboat.

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