What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin launched in 2009, after the global credit crisis, when many people lost faith in the government and in the financial systems. 

From a practical stand-point, Bitcoin is a digital currency; there is no government guaranteeing it, there is no central bank printing it. It is a peer-to-peer soft-ware system that mimics what cash does in the physical world.

Every Bitcoin bought and sold is recorded in an open ledger and constantly updated across every participating computer's program, in a public spreadsheet that is maintained by its users.  This is called the block-chain.

As for Bitcoin safety, and whether you should buy it, most experts say "not without a strong stomach.”

There are few vendors that accept Bitcoin in exchange for a physical good, such as a slice of pizza.

Even Bitcoin experts say they are not sure the day will ever come that Americans use Bitcoin instead of dollars; it is too early to tell.

The people who are jumping on the bit-coin bandwagon right now are investors.  The reason:  the value is soaring.  On Thursday alone, the value of a Bitcoin rose 40% in 40 hours and its year-to-date gain is now at more than 1,500%.

For the investing community, Bitcoin is becoming mainstream. Starting on Sunday, the Chicago board of exchange will begin offering trade in Bitcoin futures. A competing exchange will offer the same later this month; the NASDAQ will start in the 1st half of 2018. 

So far, Wall Street has a mixed reaction.  JP Morgan CEO J Dimon says it is a fraud and will fire anyone who trades it/ Morgan Stanley will wait and see. Goldman Sachs said it will process Bitcoin futures trades on a case by case basis. 

Protests over Trump's Jerusalem move

Reporting by David Lee Miller

On the street of Bethlehem, and other parts of the West Bank, thousands of Palestinians again demonstrated in protest against President Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration.

In Gaza, two demonstrators were killed by live ammunition. Nearly 700 Palestinians were wounded. Israeli authorities, anticipating even larger crowds following Friday prayers, beefed up troop deployments, but the size of the protests were about the same as the last two days.

Palestinian extremists fired rockets from Gaza into Israel, but they were either intercepted or landed in unpopulated areas causing no injuries. Israel retaliated with air strikes.

Meanwhile, other anti-US, anti-Israel demonstrations took place throughout the Muslim world including Jordan, Indonesia and Pakistan. Al Qaeda called for a holy war targeting what the United States called its Zionist and crusader allies.

At the UN Security Council, US allies, the UK, France and other countries criticized the US position in Jerusalem. US Ambassador Nikki Haley defended President Trump’s decision saying Jerusalem’s final status, including its physical boundaries, would be determined by negotiation. She also had a message for Palestinians about the US’s hopes for a peace deal.

“To my Palestinian brothers and sisters, I can tell you with complete confidence that the Unites States is deeply committed to achieving a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians.”

The Palestinian permanent UN observer who attended the Security Council meeting urged diplomats to denounce the US’s recognition of Israel’s capital. He also said Washington can no longer be an honest broker in negotiating an agreement.

“One party cannot continue to monopolize the peace process, especially not one that acts with bias in favor of the occupying power, at the expense of the law and rights of the occupied people.”

In little more than a week Vice President Pence is scheduled to visit the region, although a high ranking Palestinian official has said he would not be welcome to meet with President Abbas. No official decision has been made, but much could depend on events on the ground and whether or not the violence continues.

Bret interviews actor Josh Brolin about his new movie "Only The Brave'

Through hope, determination, sacrifice and the drive to protect families and communities, the Granite Mountain Hotshots become one of the most elite firefighting teams in the country. While most people run from danger, they run toward it -- watching over lives, homes and everything people hold dear, forging a unique brotherhood that comes into focus with one fateful fire in Yarnell, Ariz.

Secretary Mattis shoots down report Pres Trump wanted to expand US nuclear arsenal and Tillerson called president moron

Investigation of Russian interference & new information regarding unmasking of Americans

Reporting by Catherine Herridge and Bret Baier 

A legal source confirms to FOX News that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has made a broad records request to the White House, covering multiple staffers, and includes actions taken by the president.

The New York Times reports the special counsel has thirteen areas of interest including the firing of the former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, as well as the firing of Former FBI Director James Comey.

The requests reportedly include the May Oval Office meeting with Russian officials, where the president met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, where it is alleged by the New York Times, Mr. Trump said that firing Comey relieved the pressure on him.

Ty Cobb, a member of the president’s legal team, said “Out of respect for the special counsel and his process, the White House does not comment on any specific requests…I can only reaffirm that the White House is committed to cooperating fully with Special Counsel Mueller.”

In a separate development FOX News is learning new information about the rapid pace of unmasking in the final months of the Obama White House.

Two sources, not authorized to speak on the record, said the requests from Samantha Power, former US Ambassador to the United Nations, exceeded 260, with one request coming in the days leading up to the inauguration.

The House Intelligence Committee sent subpoenas in May for the unmasking requests by former CIA Director John Brennan, Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and Power. Records were also requested for presidential adviser Ben Rhodes.

At a congressional hearing the same month, a senior committee Republican pressed the CIA director on the issue, without mentioning Power by name.

A spokesperson for Power had no comment on the numbers, or the timing of the requests, but in a previous statement emphasized that Power was acting in her capacity as a member of the National Security Council, and never leaked classified information.

Hurricane Maria knocks out all power to Puerto Rico

Remembering 9/11

Reporting by Eric Shawn

16 years have passed, but it seems as if not one day has gone by.

Once again, family members and officials gathered for the somber and solemn remembrance for those who perished on September 11, 2001.

There were four moments of silence, one each for when the two planes hit the Twin Towers and when the buildings crumbled, and the methodical reading of the names—2.753 souls, some recalled with emotional and deeply personal tributes.

The toll of the radical Islamic terrorist attack continues to this day.

More than 1,000 first responders, volunteers and others have died from cancer and other diseases linked to the toxic fumes and dust according to the World Trade Center Health Program.

In Shanksville, Pennsylvania tribute was paid to the passengers of United Flight 93, who fought back against the hijackers and crashed into a field.

A visibly emotional Vice President Mike Pence, an Indiana congressman at the time, recalled standing at the U.S. Capital, a believed target of the terrorists.

“I will always believe that I and many others in our nation’s capital were able to go home that day and hug our families because of the courage and selflessness of the heroes of flight 93,” Pence told the crowd. “So for me it’s personal.”

And in New York, personal too for so many—

“Today is important for a number of reasons. It’s important for everybody to remember, but also a reminder for us that we have to continue to be vigilant,” said NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill.

Tonight, the tribute light will also pierce the night sky, two beans lighting the heavens evoking the towers that were lost. As the nation pays tribute and is reminded of the threat that still exists.

FOX News Exclusive: Security risks identified in Defense Department program

Reporting by James Rosen

Since 2009, the Defense Department has enrolled more than 10,000 foreign-born individuals into the U.S. Armed Forces under a program called “Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest,” or MAVNI.

In exchange for service, the foreigners, selected for language and other needed skills, can receive an expedited path to U.S. citizenship.

Among the program’s success stories is the Army’s soldier of the year in 2012, Sgt. Saral Shrestha of Nepal.

But lawmakers on three committees tell FOX news MAVNI has “big problems,” and that its ranks have been, quote, “compromised” due to inadequate vetting, and that some MAVNI enrollees are now unaccounted for.

“The lack of discipline in implementation of this program has created problems elsewhere,” said Republican Congressman Steve Russell of Oklahoma, a retired Army officer who first sounded the alarm a month ago.

FOX News has confirmed exclusively that the Pentagon Inspector General has investigated the program and issued a report—its contents still classified—evaluating the services’ compliance with security reviews for, and monitoring of, MAVNI enrollees.

“The Department of Defense is conducting a review of the MAVNI pilot program due to potential security risks associated with the program,” a spokesman told FOX.

But the Pentagon cited “pending litigation” for saying nothing more.

A lawsuit was filed in February against Defense Secretary James Mattis, in which seven MAVNI enrollees, all naturalized U.S. citizens, alleged their careers were “crippled” after DOD began restricting access to security clearances issued under MAVNI last fall.

One lawmaker told FOX News that a backlog of cases led to applicants being enrolled in the armed forces before full clearance checks had been completed. Another problem was the use of MAVNI to hire workers, like cooks, drivers and mechanics, who did not possess the specialized skills MAVNI was created to exploit. 

Krauthammer: Russia compares Trump Cuba plan to ‘Cold War’

Charles Krauthammer reacted to Russia accusing the U.S. of returning to ‘Cold War rhetoric” on “Special Report with Bret Baier” Monday saying “we’ve been in a new Cold War ever since Putin came into power, but it’s not exactly at the same level of risk as the old Cold War.”

Russia made the accusation on Sunday after President Trump’s decision to reinstate some sanctions on Cuba. “The Russians are very careful. They made a similar announcement after we did the tomahawk attack with the cruise missiles that we would cut off communications. It didn’t happen,” argued Krauthammer. “It sounds as if there is a lot of bark here coming out of the defense ministry from Moscow.”

Krauthammer also said the larger picture involves a “post-ISIS Syria” adding, “they both assume that ISIS is going to be wiped away fairly soon and the question is will Syria, will Assad be able to restore what the Russians and Iranians full control of the country including the part that is now ISIS or will that be a kind of semi-independent rebel territory and Assad regime will be kind of a mini state. That’s what this maneuvering is about. I don’t expect that we’re going to have a conflict with the Russians, but we are going to have a long tussle on the ground with the forces who support Assad and the forces who are against taking over in the absence of ISIS in a few months. "

US shoots down another Iranian drone in Syria

Lucas Tomlinson

A US jet shot down an Iranian drone flying in southern Syria near US-backed forces, a US defense official confirms to Fox News.

This marks the second time in less than a month the US has shot down an Iranian drone.  It also marks the 5th time since late May the US military has bombed pro-Syrian forces in southern Syria.

A US Air Force F-15 shot down the Iranian-made drone, according to the official.

US special operations forces have been training Syrian rebels at an outpost near al-Tanf Syria close to Syria’s border with Iraq and Jordan for the past few years.

Pentagon Press Statement:

Coalition shoots down armed UAV in Syria 

SOUTHWEST ASIA - A U.S. aircraft shot down an armed pro-Syrian regime Unmanned Aerial Vehicle advancing on Coalition forces in Southern Syria, June 20.

The armed pro-regime Shaheed-129 UAV was shot down by a U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle at approximately 12:30 a.m. after it displayed hostile intent and advanced on Coalition forces. 

The Coalition forces were manning an established combat outpost to the northeast of At Tanf where they are training and advising partner ground forces in the fight against ISIS. This is the same location where another pro-regime UAV dropped munitions near Coalition forces before it was shot down, June 8. 

The F-15E intercepted the armed UAV after it was observed advancing on the Coalition position. When the armed UAV continued to advance on the Coalition position without diverting its course it was shot down. 

The Coalition has made it clear to all parties publically and through the de-confliction line with Russian forces that the demonstrated hostile intent and actions of pro-regime forces toward Coalition and partner forces in Syria conducting legitimate counter-ISIS operations will not be tolerated.  

There is a de-confliction mechanism in place with Russian forces to reduce uncertainty in this highly contested space and mitigate the chances of strategic miscalculation.  Given recent events, the Coalition will not allow pro-regime aircraft to threaten or approach in close proximity to Coalition and partnered forces.  

The Coalition presence in Syria addresses the imminent threat ISIS in Syria poses globally. The Coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend Coalition or partner forces from any threat.  

The Coalition calls on all parties to focus their efforts on the defeat of ISIS, which is our common enemy and the greatest threat to regional and worldwide peace and security. 

 

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