July 4th is Independence Day in the U.S. It is usually called the Fourth of July or just the Fourth.
This is the day when the U.S. announced, in 1776, that it was an independent country, no longer tied to Britain. The British did not accept this, and the American Revolution followed. The fighting went on till 1781. But the U.S. dates its birth as a country from 1776.
Today, Americans celebrate the Fourth with a day off (for many people, anyway). Most communities hold celebrations and put up red, white, and blue decorations. Fireworks are another traditional part of the day. Many Americans also like to have barbecues.
July 1st is Canada Day. Canada celebrates becoming a country in 1867. Before that, it was a colony (foreign possession) of Britain.
Although Canada still has ties to Britain -- for example, the same Queen -- its people are proud of its independence. (They joke that they do not like to show this pride as much as people of other countries.)
Canada Day is a statutory holiday. Many people have the day off and use it to join celebrations in their towns.
Above, we linked to news of an attack on a NATO airfield in Afghanistan. The attackers used a car bomb, grenades, and guns. Several of them were killed.
Military officials say two servicemembers were slightly wounded. No civilians (non-fighters) were hurt. The attackers did not breach the perimeter (get into the airfield).
Captain Jane Campbell of the U.S. Navy, a spokeswoman for the International Security Assistance Force, says the attack was meant to get attention from the media. But it only disrupted the troops' work for a short time.
"Our forces successfully repelled the attack," she says.
A man in Alabama, USA, has pleaded guilty to helping another man send letters with fake anthrax in them.
(Anthrax is a disease spread by spores. The spores can be made into white powder and used as a weapon.)
Milstead Darden admits he helped Clifton Dodd send eight letters with white powder in them. He let Dodd get the letters ready while sitting in his truck. Then he drove Dodd to the post office to mail them. Postal Inspectors arrested the two men soon after that. Dodd will be tried later.
Although the powder wasn't real anthrax, people who got the letters might have thought it was. They might have called emergency services, which would have been expensive. So this crime is taken seriously.
"These type letters are a threat, not a joke," says U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance.
Ten people have been arrested and charged with acting as agents for the Russian Federation in the U.S. The FBI says they were on "deep cover" assignments. (They did not admit any connection with Russia and posed as ordinary Americans.)
It is illegal in the U.S. to work as a foreign government agent without telling the U.S. government. All the suspects are charged with this, and nine are also charged with money laundering (making transactions with money made illegally).
Another man was charged, but not caught until later. He was found in Cyprus -- our "Links" post for today has more.
Desima James told the Federal Emergency Management Agency that he was a victim of disasters in five different States. Now, he admits he was lying.
James pleaded guilty on Monday. The court found that he got over $30,000 by making fake claims to FEMA. He said he lived in areas that had been hit by hurricanes, flooding, and a tornado. James gave different names and addresses in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Indiana, and New Hampshire. He really lived in Georgia.
FEMA mailed him money to help with his "emergencies".
"Mr. James exploited other people's misfortune in hopes of being delivered a life of ease," says the Postal Inspector in charge of Atlanta, Georgia.