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Obama selects new VA head...ISIL declares Islamic state... Gay pride parades draw hundreds of thousands

By The Associated Press | Posted - Jun. 29, 2014 at 4:41 p.m.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is selecting former Procter and Gamble executive Robert McDonald as his choice to be secretary of Veterans Affairs. If confirmed by the Senate, the 61-year-old Indiana native would replace Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson, who replaced Eric Shinseki as head of the troubled VA. McDonald is a West Point graduate and a retired Army captain.

BAGHDAD (AP) —The al-Qaida breakaway group that's seized much of northern Syria and huge tracks of neighboring Iraq has formally declared the creation of an Islamic state in the territory under its control. The spokesman for the Sunni-dominated group, known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, made the announcement in an audio statement posted online Sunday.

NEW YORK (AP) — Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their supporters are celebrating a year of same-sex marriage victories. Gay pride parades were being held today in big cities and small towns across the nation. Three of the largest were in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Other big cities hosting gay pride parades were Minneapolis, Seattle and Houston.

VERNON, Ariz. (AP) — Firefighters are dealing with hot and dry conditions today in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona as they try to build containment lines around parts of a fire that has burned nearly eight square miles. Crews got a break today from strong winds and with the fire holding steady, they were able to make headway with more burnout operations along the fire's western flank.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The former UT-San Antonio women's basketball coach who set a school record for career wins has died in a motorcycle accident on an Austin, Texas, freeway ramp. Rae Rippetoe-Blair, who was 52, coached the Roadrunners to a 216-173 record in 13 seasons. She resigned after the 2012-13 season to care for husband, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease and died in March.

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