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British military authorities are trying to find out who hacked the army’s social media accounts over the weekend, flooding them with cryptocurrency videos and posts related to collectible electronic art. The investigation was launched after authorized content on the army’s YouTube account was replaced with a video feed promoting cryptocurrencies that included images of billionaire Elon Musk. The army’s Twitter account retweeted a number of posts about non-fungible tokens, unique digital images that can be bought and sold but have no physical counterpart. The Ministry of Defense said late Sunday that both breaches had been “resolved.”

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Independence Day arrives at a time when the United States is roiled by hearings over the Jan. 6 insurrection, awash in turmoil over abortion and guns and struggling to maintain the common bonds that keep it together. Yet many also see cause for celebration: The pandemic continues to be on the wane and, despite its faults, America’s democracy survives. July 4 marks the nation's 246th birthday and anniversary of independence from English rule. It’s a day when people of all stripes flock to parades, devour hot dogs at backyard barbecues and gather under a canopy of stars and exploding fireworks.

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Kathy Gannon has reported on Afghanistan for the AP for the past 35 years, during an extraordinary series of events and regime changes that have rocked the world. Through it all, the kindness and resilience of ordinary Afghans have shone through for her – which is also what has made it so painful for her, she says, to watch the slow erosion of their hope. Gannon says she has always been amazed at how Afghans stubbornly hung on to hope against all odds, greeting each of several new regimes with optimism. But by 2018, a Gallup poll showed that the fraction of people in Afghanistan with hope in the future was the lowest ever recorded anywhere. It didn’t have to be this way, Gannon says.

Cash-strapped Sri Lanka has extended school closures for one week because there isn’t enough fuel for teachers and parents to get children to classrooms. The energy minister has appealed to the country’s expatriates to send money home through banks to finance new oil purchases. A huge foreign debt has left the Indian Ocean island with none of the suppliers willing to sell fuel on credit. The available stocks, sufficient for only several days, will be provided for essential services, including health and port workers, public transport and food distribution. The energy minister said Sunday that finding money is a huge challenge. He says authorities are struggling to find $587 million to pay for fuel because Sri Lanka owed about $800 million to seven fuel suppliers.

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Although fish and seafood consumption is on the rise in the U.S., the number of Midwest aquaculture farms is declining, and many fish producers say they face challenges getting their produce to consumers. Experts maintain the region could be a strong aquaculture producer, but the number of aquaculture farms in the Midwest has fallen from a decade ago. Joseph Morris, a former director of the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center at Iowa State University, notes problems with marketing, fish processing and high labor costs. Amy Shambach, with the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, says aquaculture produce from the Midwest also must compete with cheaper, imported seafood.

The Supreme Court’s latest climate change ruling could dampen efforts by federal agencies to rein in the tech industry, which went largely unregulated for decades as the government tried to catch up to changes wrought by the internet. Thursday’s 6-3 decision was narrowly tailored to the Environmental Protection Agency. The court ruled that the EPA doesn’t have broad authority to reduce power plant emissions that contribute to global warming. The precedent is widely expected to invite challenges of other rules set by government agencies.

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A letter written by founding father Alexander Hamilton in 1780 and believed stolen from the Massachusetts state archives decades ago is being displayed publicly for the first time since it was returned to the state after a lengthy court battle. The secretary of state's office says the letter will be the featured piece at the Commonwealth Museum’s annual July Fourth exhibit this year. The letter was believed to have been stolen during World War II by a state archives worker. It resurfaced several years ago, and a federal appeals ruled in October that it belongs to the state.

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President Joe Biden is set to mark his second Fourth of July since taking office, and he's finding a far different political atmosphere today than a year ago. At this time last year, the United States had been making steady progress against the pandemic, and Biden said the country was “closer than ever to declaring our independence from a deadly virus.” But in the past year, two variants proved the coronavirus remained a threat, and Biden's presidency has become bogged down in other challenges, some of them outside of his control. His approval rating has fallen 20 percentage points between his first and second Independence Days, according to polls from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

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“All men are created equal.” Few words in American history are invoked as often as the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, published nearly 250 years ago. And are few more difficult to define. The music, and the economy, of “all men are created equal” make it both universal and elusive — and adaptable to viewpoints otherwise with little or no common ground. How we use them often depends less on how we came into this world than on what kind world we want to live in. It’s as if “All men are created equal” leads Americans to ask: “And then what?”

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Kathy Gannon has reported on Afghanistan for the AP for the past 35 years, during an extraordinary series of events and regime changes that have rocked the world. Through it all, the kindness and resilience of ordinary Afghans has shone through for her – which is also what has made it so painful for her, she says, to watch the slow erosion of their hope. Gannon says she has always been amazed at how Afghans stubbornly hung on to hope against all odds, greeting each of several new regimes with optimism. But by 2018, a Gallup poll showed that the fraction of people in Afghanistan with hope in the future was the lowest ever recorded anywhere. It didn’t have to be this way, Gannon says.

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Tropical Storm Colin has brought rain and winds to parts of North and South Carolina, though the storm has weakened and conditions are expected to improve by Monday's July Fourth celebrations. Separately, the center of Tropical Storm Bonnie rolled into the Pacific on Saturday after a rapid march across Central America, where it caused flooding, downed trees and forced thousands of people to evacuate in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Forecasters say Bonnie is likely to become a hurricane by Monday off the southern coast of Mexico, but it is unlikely to make a direct hit on land.

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A 35-year-old New York man is facing trespassing and stalking charges after authorities said he entered two New York City residences linked to the famed singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. Police say the suspect entered a Tribeca residential building linked to Swift on March 26. Authorities say he fled on foot when security told him to leave. On June 12, police say the same man entered another residential building on the same street linked to Swift and “made threats through the intercom toward a 32-year-old female." He was arrested Friday. The 32-year-old Swift has had prior issues with alleged stalkers. In 2018, police said a man broke into her Tribeca townhouse and took a nap.

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Egyptian authorities have closed off a stretch of the country's Red Sea coastline, a day after a shark attack killed an Austrian woman swimming near the resort of Hurghada. The closure is to last three days, starting on Saturday. That's according to a document from the local governor's office shared with The Associated Press. The 68-year-old woman lost a leg and an arm in the shark attack and died shortly after she was brought to the private Nile Hospital in Hurghada on Friday. A health official says attempts by medical staff to resuscitate her failed. Shark attacks have been relatively rare in Egypt’s Red Sea coastal region in recent years.

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The Fourth of July holiday weekend is jamming U.S. airports with the biggest crowds since the pandemic began in 2020. Newly released numbers show 2.49 million passengers went through security checkpoints at U.S. airports Friday, surpassing the previous pandemic-era record of 2.46 million reached earlier in the week. The increase is the latest sign that leisure travelers aren’t being deterred from flying by rising fares, the ongoing spread of COVID-19 or worries about recurring flight delays and cancellations. In an even more telling indication, the average passenger volume at U.S. airports for the past week is nearing the same level as in 2019.

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The Supreme Court's ruling on carbon emission controls on power plants this past week has cast light on the world of federal regulation. The ruling is seen as a potential blow to the fight against global warming, and it may have broader implications, too. Federal regulations run through American life, touching on everything we consume, the air we breathe, the water we drink. Regulation has become the go-to way for presidents to make policy when they can’t get Congress to pass a law, as on climate change. Barack Obama and Donald Trump did it, and so does Joe Biden. But the court’s conservative majority said not so fast to Biden.

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Tourism is booming again in France, and so is COVID-19. French government officials have “invited” or “recommended” people to go back to using face masks but stopped short of renewing restrictions that would scare visitors away or revive protests. From Paris commuters to tourists on the French Riviera, many people seem to welcome the government’s light touch, while some worry that required prevention measures may be needed. Infections are rising across Europe and the United States, but government data shows France had nearly 1,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 per day over the past two weeks. Local officials are contemplating new measures, including indoor mask mandates, but nothing that would potentially curb economic activity.

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Democrats and their aligned groups raised more than $80 million in the week after the Supreme Court stripped away a woman’s constitutional right to have an abortion. The flood of cash offers one of the first tangible signs that the ruling may energize voters. But party officials say donors have given much of that money to national campaigns and causes instead of races for state office, where abortion policy will be shaped as a result of the court’s decision. That’s where Republicans wield disproportionate power. The fundraising disparity is exasperating the party's base.

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Summer travel is underway across the globe, but a full recovery from two years of coronavirus could last as long as the pandemic itself. Interviews by The Associated Press in 11 countries this month show that the most passionate travelers are thronging to locales like the French Riviera, Amsterdam and the American Midwest. But even as safety restrictions fall, places like Israel, India and Rome are reporting only fractions of the record-setting tourism of 2019. For them, a full recovery isn't forecast until at least 2024. China, once the world's biggest source of tourists, remains closed per its “zero-COVID” policy. That's holding down the rebound in many countries.

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The fireworks are still a few days away, but travel for the July Fourth weekend is off to a booming start. The Transportation Security Administration said Friday that it screened more people on Thursday than it did on the same day in 2019, before the pandemic. Travelers so far seem to be experiencing fewer delays and canceled flights than they did earlier this week. But it's still early. Leisure travel has bounced back this year, offsetting weakness in business travel and international flying. Still, the total number of people flying has not quite recovered fully to pre-pandemic levels.

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With a string of 14 No. 1 hits, country star Luke Combs made the professional leap into stadiums this year on his ascent to the genre's peak. But at home, his focus now is on being a new parent after the birth of his son on Father's Day. The reigning CMA entertainer of the year says figuring out this new journey is “mildly stressful, but also really exciting.” With his new album “Growin' Up,” Combs is reflecting on this transitional period on songs like “Doin' This.” But he says that his stadium shows aren't a bunch of bells and whistles. He's relying, instead, on hit after hit that has tens of thousands of fans singing along.

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New Jersey's Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy has signed two bills aiming to protect the right of those from outside the state to get abortion services within New Jersey's borders and barring extradition of people involved in reproductive health care services should they face charges in another state. The legislation moved swiftly in the Democrat-led Legislature, just a week after the Supreme Court's ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. Murphy and lawmakers say the legislation ensures residents of other states seeking reproductive health care in New Jersey can access confidential abortion services without fear of being prosecuted.

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