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    British authorities have announced an independent review into building regulations after new tests identified 82 apartment towers whose cladding system failed to meet fire safety tests after the west London tower block blaze that killed at least 80 people. Britain ordered more thorough testing on the cladding systems following the June 14 blaze, which began with a fire in one apartment's refrigerator and spread quickly throughout the 24-story Grenfell Tower building. Experts have warned about risks posed by the cladding for years because some systems use highly flammable plastic foam insulation, which can rapidly spread fires once it ignites, as previously seen in Australia, China and Dubai. Even aluminum composite panels rated fire-resistant can be dangerous if they aren't properly installed. 'It's clear we need to urgently look at building regulations and fire safety,' said Sajid Javid, the U.K. communities secretary, adding that the Conservative government 'is determined to make sure that we learn the lessons from Grenfell Tower fire, and to ensure nothing like it can happen again.' The decision comes amid a new round of more comprehensive testing, which went further than the initial testing that saw hundreds of cladding samples fail tests. The more exhaustive 'whole system' testing created a simulated tall building and tested the insulation and the cladding materials together to see how they reacted. The department concluded that the screening test 'would not meet the requirements for limited combustibility.' The results released Friday, however, mark only the beginning as only one combination of cladding system was tested. Angry residents want to know how building regulations that were meant to be among the world's best could have failed so catastrophically. Many accuse officials in Kensington and Chelsea, one of London's richest boroughs, of ignoring their safety concerns because the public housing building was home to a largely immigrant and working-class population.
  • Russia's new envoy to the United Nations has taken up his post saying that the world is being confronted by 'unprecedented threats and challenges' and Moscow is committed to human rights. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia presented his credentials to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday. He said that as a permanent member of the Security Council, Russia 'will continue contributing constructively to addressing those challenges together with the international community.' Guterres stressed the importance of 'effective cooperation' between the U.N. and Russia. He praised Nebenzia's predecessor, Vitaly Churkin, who died in February, as a 'brilliant' diplomat. Nebenzia later told a General Assembly meeting on terrorism that the world needs to work together against extremists and extremist groups, especially 'foreign terrorist fighters.
  • A Soyuz space capsule successfully blasted off for the International Space Station on Friday, carrying an American astronaut, a Russian cosmonaut and an Italian astronaut. NASA's Randy Bresnik, Russia's Sergei Ryazansky and Italy's Paolo Nespoli lifted off from the Russia-leased launch pad in Kazakhstan shortly after sunset at 21:41 p.m. on Friday (1541 GMT, 11:41 a.m. EDT). They will travel six hours before docking at the space station. The three will join NASA's Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson as well as the veteran Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin. Bresnik previously logged 10 days in space when he flew on a mission in 2009, performing two spacewalks. Russia's Ryazansky is the crew's most experience astronaut with 160 days in space under his belt. The incoming crew will contribute to more than 250 experiments conducted at the orbiting lab in fields such as biology, human research, physical sciences and technology development. Flight Engineer Whitson earlier this week was doing research for a cancer study that may help develop more effective treatments for cancer patients, NASA reported.
  • Philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs, is buying a majority stake in The Atlantic magazine. The value of the sale, made through Jobs' organization, Emerson Collective, was not disclosed. The Atlantic was founded in Boston in 1857. David Bradley bought it 1999 from New York Daily News publisher Mort Zuckerman for $10 million, according to an Atlantic story Friday . He moved the magazine to Washington in 2005. Bradley's company says he will continue to run the Atlantic for the next three to five years, and its editor-in-chief, president and publisher will keep running daily operations. Emerson Collective, which focuses on education, immigration reform and environmental causes, has other media investments and grants in film, TV production and journalism.
  • Italy's parliament on Friday gave final approval to making a slate of childhood vaccinations mandatory for school children up to age 16 — a move aimed at countering an anti-vaccine trend that officials have attributed to misinformation. The packet approved Friday was hotly contested in Italy, where the number of children being vaccinated has sunk since mandatory inoculations were dropped for school admissions nearly 20 years ago. Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin hailed the 296-92 vote with 15 abstentions as providing 'a shield for our children against very serious diseases that are still among us.' But the sharp tones of the debate before the vote didn't dissipate. A top health official in Liguria, Sonia Viale, was quoted as saying the measure marked 'a return to fascism,' drawing rebukes. During the vaccine debate, Italian health officials confronted a measles outbreak that drew a U.S. travel warning and a scandal in northern Italy that involved a nurse who claimed for years to have vaccinated children but had not. Earlier this week, Italy's highest court issued a ruling that found no connection between childhood vaccines and autism, as alleged by a parent seeking legal relief. The alleged correlation has been widely dismissed by the scientific community. Not only in Italy, but around Europe and the United States, parental fears about vaccines' safety have caused tens of thousands of parents to avoid vaccinating their children. World Health Organization says measles killed 35 children across Europe in the last year, calling it 'an unacceptable tragedy,' noting that the disease is preventable with a vaccine. Under Italy's new requirements, parents must present proof of vaccinations to gain admission into preschools, while parents of children of mandatory school age face fines of up to 500 euros ($588) for noncompliance. The requirements cover 10 vaccinations, including diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox. Officials dropped two diseases from the initial list of 12, meningococcal B and meningococcal C.
  • An appeals court panel lifted an order Friday blocking restrictions on how the abortion pill is administered in Arkansas, saying a judge didn't estimate how many women would be burdened by the law's requirements. A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis vacated U.S. District Court Judge Kristine Baker's preliminary injunction against the 2015 law. The measure requires doctors providing the pill to maintain a contract with another physician with admitting privileges at a hospital who agrees to handle any complications. The panel sent the case back to Baker and said the judge should look into the number of women who would be unduly burdened by the requirement and whether it amounts to a 'large fraction' of women seeking the abortion pill in Arkansas. 'The court correctly held that individuals for whom the contract-physician requirement was an actual, rather than an irrelevant, restriction were women seeking medication abortions in Arkansas. Nonetheless, it did not define or estimate the number of women who would be unduly burdened by the contract-physician requirement,' the 8th Circuit panel wrote. 'Instead, it focused on amorphous groups of women to reach its conclusion that the Act was facially unconstitutional.' Planned Parenthood has said it will no longer be able to offer the abortion pill at its Little Rock and Fayetteville health centers if the law takes effect; it does not offer surgical abortions at those clinics. The other abortion provider in the state would be able to offer only surgical abortions. The Arkansas attorney general's office and Planned Parenthood Great Plains, which had sued over the restrictions, said they were reviewing the ruling and did not have an immediate comment. The decision came as Baker is weighing whether to block four new Arkansas abortion laws, three of which are set to take effect next week. The laws being challenged include a ban on a common second-trimester abortion procedure and part of a measure prohibiting doctors from performing abortions based solely on whether the mother wants a boy or a girl. ___ Follow Andrew DeMillo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ademillo
  • With Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif disqualified by the country's top court and out of his job, questions are swirling over who will succeed him as head of government. The Supreme Court's decision to dismiss the thrice-elected Sharif followed a petition by the country's opposition, which had levelled corruption allegations against the prime minister and his family members. Sharif promptly resigned after Friday's ruling and will now face criminal charges. Legal experts say that under constitutional rules, Sharif and his Pakistan Muslim League party will have to nominate a lawmaker to replace him. That nominee will then have to be elected by the National Assembly, where Sharif's party enjoys a comfortable majority. Here is a look at some possible successors to Sharif: —AHSAN IQBAL, minister for planning and development; An engineering graduate, Iqbal has been a member of Sharif's party since 1988. He studied business in the United States and is considered a close Sharif ally. He was elected from Narowal, a city in Pakistan's most populous province, Punjab, where 60 percent of the country's 200 million people live. —AYAZ SADIQ, parliamentary speaker; Sadiq was elected from the city of Lahore, the capital of eastern Punjab province. In the race there, he defeated a close associate of Sharif's chief opponent, cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan who has spearheaded the opposition petition that triggered the Supreme Court's ruling on Friday. Pundits say Sharif could select Sadiq as his successor just to annoy Khan. —KHURRAM DASTGIR KHAN, commerce minister; Also an engineer, Khan was elected from the industrial city of Gujranwala, also in eastern Punjab province, a stronghold of Sharif's. —SHAHID KHAQAN ABBASI, petroleum minister; Abbasi is another close ally of Sharif. He faced charges along with Sharif following the 1999 bloodless coup by Gen. Pervez Musharraf who overthrew Sharif. Abbasi was elected from the mountain resort area of Murree, also in Punjab. —KHWAJA MUHAMMED ASIF, defense minister; Asif has been a harsh critic of Pakistan's powerful military and its propensity to involve itself in the country's civilian affair. He was elected from Sialkot, also in Punjab. —SHAHBAZ SHARIF, chief minister in Punjab province and the prime minister's brother; If Nawaz Sharif selects his brother to succeed him, Shahbaz Sharif would first have to win a by-election for a seat in Parliament.
  • Police in Maine say a dog that got into its owner's oxycodone perked right up after police administered the opioid-overdose antidote naloxone. York County Sheriff William King says the dog's owner flagged down a passing officer in Lyman on Thursday. The owner said she was unable to get help from a veterinarian and asked Sgt. David Chauvette to help the 3-year-old yellow Labrador named Addie. King says the dog was drowsy and the owner feared an overdose. King says Chauvette administered naloxone and the dog 'seemed to perk up.' King said the dog seemed fine Thursday night. The oxycodone had been legally prescribed to the dog's owner.
  • A researcher says some of the over 70 full sets of human remains excavated from a Philadelphia construction site last winter have gone missing. Kimberlee Moran, the director of forensics at Rutgers University-Camden, says the bones of about 12 people can't be located. In February, construction crews working on a 10-story apartment building in the city's historic district started unearthing coffins and fully intact human remains. That's when owner PMC Properties contacted archeologists. The site was a burial ground that dates to 1707. All the remains were supposedly exhumed in the 1800s and moved to a different cemetery, but that apparently didn't happen. Researchers at Rutgers University-Camden removed the remains and are studying them before they're re-interred. Jonathan Stavin, executive vice president of PMC, says locations where bones were stored are being checked again.
  • An ethics watchdog group has filed a complaint asking for an investigation into Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt's frequent flights to his home state of Oklahoma at taxpayer expense. The group American Oversight sent a letter Thursday to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel asking for an investigation into whether Pruitt violated federal rules by using government resources to travel to Oklahoma for 'personal or political reasons.' Records released by the EPA in response to an open-records request show Pruitt traveled to Oklahoma at least 10 times during his first three months as EPA chief at a cost of more than $15,000. Pruitt was in Oklahoma again Thursday. Oklahoma City television station KOKH reported that Pruitt said the criticism of his travel was an unfair attack by an 'alt-EPA.