News summary for Monday, July 17, 2017

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A quick look at the most important news of the last 24 hours:

  • Venezuela’s opposition has called for a 24-hour nationwide strike on Thursday. The call comes just a day after 7.6 million people participated in an unofficial referendum to protest President Nicolas Maduro, who plans to form a Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution.

  • In related news, U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened Maduro with “strong and swift economic actions” if he implements his proposed assembly. “The United States will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles,” he said in a statement, calling Maduro a “bad leader who dreams of becoming a dictator.”

  • The Republican healthcare bill in the U.S. Senate has failed after two more senators announced their opposition, making it impossible for the bill to advance. Senate Majority Leader McConnell acknowledged that the effort to repeal and immediately replace Obamacare had failed. Republicans now plan to vote on a repeal of Obamacare with a 2-year delay, which would force lawmakers to approve another bill in between.

  • Civilian casualties caused by U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria have increased sharply under the Trump administration, according to monitoring group Airwars. The group believes at least 2,246 civilians have died in coalition airstrikes in less than 7 months, compared to 2,108 deaths in the previous 2.5 years.

  • Syrian soldiers backed by Russian airstrikes have retaken a number of oil fields near Raqqa from the Islamic State (ISIS), Reuters reports. ISIS has continued to lose territory over the past year and oil sales are a major source of income for the group.

  • Authorities in Saudi Arabia have launched an investigation after a video shared on Snapchat showed a young woman walking on an empty street while wearing a miniskirt and crop-top, in violation of the kingdom’s strict dress code. The video sparked heated debate on social media, with some Saudis praising her and others calling for the woman to be arrested.

  • Tropical Storm Don has formed over the Atlantic Ocean with maximum sustained winds near 45 miles (75 kilometers) per hour, and higher gusts. The storm is expected to affect the Lesser Antilles on Tuesday and a tropical storm warning is in effect for Grenada and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. A tropical storm watch is in effect for Barbados and St. Lucia.

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