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White House refuses apology over Pakistan strike

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WASHINGTON — The White House on Thursday dismissed the notion of offering an apology to Pakistan over the NATO air strikes that killed 24 soldiers, insisting an inquiry was still ongoing as to how the men died.

“I, speaking for the White House and the president, offered condolences on behalf of him, the administration, the American people, for the tragic loss of life,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters. “It was a tragedy.”

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But he and other US officials have stopped short of offering any apology.

On Monday, Carney also said the weekend deaths, which provoked outrage in Pakistan and prompted Islamabad to review its alliance with the US, were a “tragedy,” adding: “We take this matter very seriously.”

“We mourn those brave Pakistani service members that lost their lives,” the spokesman said.

The New York Times reported Thursday that US State Department officials had lobbied for President Barack Obama to make a formal statement of regret to the Pakistani people, to stem the damage to the key US-Pakistani relationship.

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But according to the newspaper, which cited unnamed administration officials, the Pentagon balked at the idea, saying statements by other senior officials such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were sufficient.

Some administration aides also expressed concern that an apology by Obama would be used against him by his Republican adversaries in the run-up to next year’s presidential election, the Times reported.

When asked why no formal White House apology was forthcoming, Carney said authorities were at the “early stages” of an investigation into the incident.

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“So I think that the expression of condolences for the tragic loss of life conveys sincere sentiment… and it goes to the importance of the relationship that we have with Pakistan,” the spokesman said.

Pakistan has insisted that the attack on its troops was unprovoked. The Wall Street Journal, citing Afghan and Western officials, has reported that NATO and Afghan forces called in the strikes after taking fire from the Pakistani side.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Republican senator heckled and booed during raucous town hall for blaming mass shootings on mental illness

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Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, who is up for reelection in 2020 and is among the Republican senators who is considered vulnerable, discussed the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio during a town hall event in her home state this week —and she was booed and heckled when she echoed President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and blamed “mental illness” for the killings.

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Republicans likely to block ‘background checks’ after Trump’s abrupt reversal: report

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After two mass shootings over one weekend, President Donald Trump signaled that he would be open to strengthening background checks.

He promptly dropped his resolve to sign gun regulations one week later when he said that there were already strong background checks on the books.

With the president's apparent reversal, Republicans in Congress also appear to be abandoning legislation, reports Politico.

“I really don’t see the dynamic having really changed there much,” Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson told Politico. “I don’t anticipate we’re going to pass a federal red flag law."

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French model tycoon at heart of Epstein scandal accusations

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A formerly powerful French modeling tycoon has emerged as a key figure in the scandal surrounding US billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who committed suicide in jail while facing charges of sexually trafficking minors.

Jean-Luc Brunel, regarded as a close friend and ally of the disgraced US financier, has been accused in court documents of procuring young girls for Epstein, as well as of rape. He has in the past unequivocally denied the accusations.

The model scout, an influential figure in the industry, has always been a low-profile figure and like some other former Epstein allies vanished after the financier was charged in early July.

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