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NEWS   THURSDAY, MAY  25, 2017   NEWS

Joe Lieberman Out Of FBI Director Sweepstakes
Former Sen. Joe Lieberman has gone from front runner to out of the running in President Trump's effort to fill the vacant FBI director's job, a senior White House official told Fox News on Wednesday. Before Trump left for an extended overseas tour last Friday, he told reporters the ex-Connecticut lawmaker, a Democrat-turned-Independent, was the leading candidate to replace James Comey, who was fired by Trump on May 9. But things have changed, in part due to Trump's hiring of an attorney who works at the same firm as Lieberman. Marc Kasowitz, who has worked for Trump in the past, was brought on to represent the president in the ongoing Russian election meddling probe. Lieberman is a partner of Kasowitz’s New York law firm, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres. Fox
VOA VIEW: The only and right move.

House Health Bill Will Lower Premiums, But Increase Number Of Uninsured By 23 Million
A congressional audit released Wednesday found the House’s recently passed ObamaCare overhaul bill will lower the average cost of premiums but that 23 million fewer Americans would be uninsured under the plan by 2026. The much-anticipated nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office report also found the bill will reduce the deficit by $119 billion over a decade, primarily because of its cuts to Medicaid and private insurance subsidies. The GOP-controlled Senate will now craft its own version of an ObamaCare overhaul bill. Fox News
VOA VIEW:  The guess work has never come true, or close.

Trump Should Be Scared, Comey Friend Says
A friend of James Comey said Tuesday that if he were President Donald Trump he would be scared of the former FBI director's pending testimony. "I found it interesting and very telling that (Comey) declined any opportunity to tell his story in private," Benjamin Wittes, who describes himself as a Comey confidant, told CNN's Anderson Cooper on "AC360." "This is a guy with a story to tell," says Wittes, who also runs a blog called Lawfare and is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.Comey has agreed to meet with the Senate intelligence committee after Memorial Day. CNN
VOA VIEW: A friend BS.

AG Sessions Did Not Disclose Meetings With Russian Officials, DOJ Says
Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not disclose meetings he had last year with Russian officials when he applied for his security clearance, the Justice Department told CNN Wednesday. Sessions, who met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at least two times last year, didn't note those interactions on the form, which requires him to list "any contact" he or his family had with a "foreign government" or its "representatives" over the past seven years, officials said. The new information from the Justice Department is the latest example of Sessions failing to disclose contacts he had with Russian officials. He has come under withering criticism from Democrats following revelations that he did not disclose the same contacts with Kislyak during his Senate confirmation hearings earlier this year. CNN
VOA VIEW: So what - what about Hillary?

Graco Recalls Car Seats; Webbing May Not Hold Child In Crash
Graco has recalled eight different car seat models. Graco has recalled eight different car seat models. Graco Children's Products is recalling more than 25,000 car seats because the harness webbing can break in a crash and may not keep children restrained. The recall affects certain My Ride 65 convertible seats with model numbers 1871689, 1908152, 1813074, 1872691, 1853478, 1877535, 1813015, and 1794334. The seats were made on July 22, 2014 and have a code of 2014/06 on a tag that's on the webbing. Documents posted Wednesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say that agency tests discovered the webbing strength problem. Graco traced the problem to a single batch of webbing. Graco says in documents that it will notify owners and dealers will provide a replacement harness free of charge. The recall is expected to start on July 17. Tampa Tribune

White House, DOJ Miss Senate Deadline To Provide James Comey Memos, Records
The White House and Justice Department broke a Senate committee's Wednesday deadline to turn over any records detailing conversations between President Trump and James Comey before the FBI director's abrupt firing earlier this month, instead requesting more time to respond to lawmakers' demands. The Senate Judiciary Committee demanded the records earlier this month after revelations Comey documented his telephone calls and meetings with the president in highly detailed memos – including a February dinner meeting in which Trump allegedly pressed Comey to shut down the FBI's inquiry into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The contents of the memos were described by a person who has reviewed the documents to news outlets including USA TODAY, but lawmakers are seeking the original text. USA Today

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Robert Gates Warns Of More Attacks Like Manchester, As ISIS Fighters Pose As Refugees
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday that the downfall of ISIS’ “caliphate” in the Middle East would not necessarily mean the defeat of committed individuals who, pretending to be refugees, may travel to Western countries and then carry out terror attacks. Monday’s deadly terrorist bombing in Manchester, England, he said, “may be a harbinger of more such activities in the West.” ISIS claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing that killed at least 22 people, some of them children, and injured dozens more at the end of a show featuring U.S. singer Ariana Grande at Manchester Arena. The suicide bomber in Manchester has been identified as Manchester-born 22-year-old Salman Abedi, the son of Libyan immigrants. According to Britain's Daily Telegraph, “It has emerged that Abedi had travelled to Libya, raising fears he had been trained there and posing questions for the security services on whether he should have been tracked.” CNS News

WH Budget: Claiming Child Care Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit Now Require A Social Security Number
The president’s budget requires that those receiving the child care tax credit and the earned income tax credit now must have a Social Security number to claim those tax credits. “We talk about how to prioritize spending and how to look at programs that work and don't work.  The childcare tax credit and the earned income tax credit. One of our proposals is that we are going to require you to have a Social Security number now to collect those,” White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said Monday during an off-camera briefing. “Why is that? Because I can ask you for your money, I think, in good faith and good conscience and say, look, I need to take some of your tax money and give it to this family who deserves the childcare tax credit, but I can't do it to give the earned income tax credit, which is designed to help folks who work, to give it to somebody who is in the country and working illegally," he said. CNS
VOA VIEW: It's about time.

Vermont Governor Snuffs Legal Pot, Tells Lawmakers To 'Get It Right'
Vermont's governor on Wednesday halted, at least temporarily, efforts to become the ninth state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, but offered to work with state legislators to resolve what he cited as the bill's shortcomings. In vetoing the measure to decriminalize possession of small amounts of the drug for adults and to pave the way for a regulated market in the state, Republican Governor Phil Scott stressed he was not philosophically opposed to the concept, which he said he views "through a libertarian lens." But in an effort to "get it right," he said the bill needs to improve protections for children and motorists. Reuters

President Orders Thorough Probe Of Indonesia Suicide Attacks
Indonesia's president ordered a thorough investigation Thursday of twin suicide bombings that targeted police, killing three officers, in the deadliest attack by suspected militants in the capital in a year. The bombings on Wednesday night also injured six other police officers and five civilians. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said he ordered police to "thoroughly investigate the networks of the perpetrators and hunt them to the roots." He spoke from his hometown of Solo in Central Java province.
Muslim-majority Indonesia has carried out a sustained crackdown on militants since the 2002 Bali bombings by al-Qaida-affiliated radicals that killed 202 people. A new threat has emerged in the past several years from Islamic State group sympathizers. Houston Chronicle

Trump’s Historic Arms Deal Is Likely A Jobs Ceator – In Saudi Arabia
In keeping with his campaign promise to put “America first,” President Donald Trump framed a massive $110 billion arms deal signed with Saudi Arabia over the weekend as a historic agreement that would result in “jobs, jobs, jobs.” “That was a tremendous day,” he said. “Hundreds of billions of dollars of investments into the United States and jobs, jobs, jobs.” Industry analysts agree – if you’re talking about Saudi jobs. The new agreements foresee a massive influx of defense technology and job training into the country, and that, analysts say, will result in hundreds of new, high-skilled positions – in Saudi Arabia. The analysts even foresee the day when the Saudi arms manufacturing could compete with U.S. defense industries. Charlotte Observer
VOA VIEW: A problem for Trump - if true.

The Surprising Illegal Drug That Recreational Users Say Is The Safest
As the use and study of cannabis has become more commonplace in the U.S., past and present users might not be surprised to learn cannabis is the second least-likely drug to require medical attention. But the drug least likely to require medical attention – mushrooms – might raise a few eyebrows. Those findings are according to the 2017 Global Drug Survey of 120,000 people who self-reported their drug use as well as which uses required medical attention. Magic mushrooms, which were taken by more than 10,000 participants, only required medical attention 0.2 percent of the time. Cannabis, which more than 60,000 participants reported taking, required medical attention 0.6 percent of the time. Kansas City Star

While Tourists Drink Water Out Of A Bottle, Cubans Ration And Boil A Limited Supply
Cuba seems like a water-rich country, with abundant rainfall, rivers crisscrossing the island and groundwater that bubbles up in turquoise springs. But it has always struggled to provide enough fresh water for its people. Part of the problem is that the water isn’t where the people are. While Cuba’s capital city is in the wetter western part of the country, its population of over 2.1 million means that it has less water per capita than many other regions. Atop distribution problems, Havana and other parts of the nation also lack sufficient infrastructure and water-quality treatment. The strain has worsened in recent years due to drought. Miami Herald

Why Melania Trump Covers Her Head One Day And Not The Next
To cover up or not to cover up? Melania Trump wore a veil to the Vatican on Wednesday to meet the pope, but no head covering a few days earlier to meet the king of Saudi Arabia, a religiously conservative country where most women cover themselves up from head to toe. Why the difference? The answer is a complicated mix of personal preference, diplomatic protocol and religious dictates. Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for the first lady, said Mrs. Trump's decision to wear a black lace veil known as a mantilla followed Vatican protocol that women who have an audience with the pope must wear long sleeves, formal black clothing and a veil to cover their head. In Saudi Arabia, however, the government did not request that Mrs. Trump wear a head covering known as a hijab, or a headscarf, Grisham said. The Vatican's rules of attire are not strictly enforced. Many women, including high-ranking dignitaries, have visited the pontiff with their heads uncovered, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2015 and Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's top civilian leader, this month. SF Gate
VOA VIEW: Respect is an individual preference - Malania is not a top state official.

President Trump Calls Filipino Leader Duterte To Hail His 'Great Job' Fighting Drugs
President Trump, in a recent phone call, congratulated Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte for a "great job" in his crackdown on drugs, which human rights groups and the United Nations have condemned as a vigilante-style campaign that has left thousands of suspected drug dealers and users dead. The exchange is found in a leaked transcript of a April 29 conversation between the two leaders published by The Washington Post and reported on by The New York Times. "I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem," Trump says, according to the transcript. "Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that." USA Today

Meet The Up-And-Coming Generation Of The Kennedy Clan
Relation: Son of Caroline Kennedy and Edwin Schlossberg; grandson of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Onassis. Jack, 24, has cautiously stepped into the spotlight in recent years. In 2012, he accepted a commemorative coin at the Library from Sergei Khrushchev, the son of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 2013, he invoked his grandfather’s words when presenting the New Frontier Awards to Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Donorschoose.org founder Charles Best, saying, “As my generation assumes the responsibility of confronting the challenges of our day, we must welcome that responsibility as President Kennedy did.” Most recently, Jack interviewed President Barack Obama about political courage when Obama accepted the Profile in Courage Award at the JFK Library and Museum. He will attend Harvard Law School, Obama’s alma mater, starting in the fall of 2017. Boston Globe

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Trump Meets European Union Residents
President Donald Trump got to meet two European Union Presidents at the same time. Under the convoluted rules of the 28-nation bloc, Donald Tusk presides over the Council of EU leaders and chairs summit meetings while Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker heads the EU executive. "You know, Mr President, we have two presidents in the EU," Tusk said as they started their meeting. "I know that," Trump said. Juncker joked: "There is one too much." Trump concluded his meeting at the European Union headquarters at about 11:30 a.m. He headed to the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium's residence where he was set to have a working lunch with newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron. Tampa Tribune

‘Not Welcome Here’: Thousands March Against Trump In Belgium
Thousands of protesters took to the streets Wednesday to protest U.S. President Donald Trump's arrival in the city he previously likened to a "hellhole." "If you don't want Trump in Belgium clap your hands," chanted some, while others opted for "hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go." Marchers carried colorful flags and banners inscribed with slogans such as "Fight Donald Trump and his billionaire friends" and "stay out of our hole," a reference to an interview Trump gave last year in which he described Brussels as "like living in a hellhole right now." According to capital police, 9,000 people attended the rally. MSNBC
VOA VIEW: Liberal news as usual.

Trump Failing To Track Foreign Cash At His Hotels
Just before taking office, President Donald Trump promised to donate all profits earned from foreign governments back to the U.S. Treasury. But MSNBC has learned the Trump Organization is not tracking all possible payments it receives from foreign governments, according to new admissions by Trump representatives. By failing to track foreign payments it receives, the company will be hard-pressed to meet Trump's pledge to donate foreign profits and could even increase its legal exposure. The Trump Organization does not "attempt to identify individual travelers who have not specifically identified themselves as being a representative of a foreign government entity," according to a new company pamphlet. The policy suggests that it is up to foreign governments, not Trump hotels, to determine whether they self-report their business. MSNBC
VOA VIEW: Liberal MSNBC wants to show the bad side of Trump.

John Kerry Tells Harvard Students To ‘Learn Russian’ In Commencement Speech
Former Secretary of State John Kerry blasted the Trump administration during a commencement speech Wednesday at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, advising graduates to learn to speak Russian in light of collusion allegations. “I’m often asked what the secret is … to having a real impact on government,” Mr. Kerrytold the crowd. “Well, it’s recently changed. I used to say, ‘Either run for office or get a degree from Harvard Kennedy School.’ With this White House, I’d say, ‘Buy Rosetta Stone and learn Russian,” he joked, earning cheers. The remark comes as the administration faces unsubstantiated claims that Trump associates colluded with the Russians in attempting to influence the 2016 election. President Trump has blasted the allegations as “fake news.” Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Expected from a liberal.

Morrissey Blasts Politicians, Queen Elizabeth After Manchester Terror Attack
Alt-rocker Morrissey grew up in Manchester and isn’t the least bit impressed with the official response to the deadly terror attack there this week. Never one to mince words, the former Smiths frontman has no use for Prime Minister Theresa May, Queen Elizabeth or the mayors of London and Manchester in the days following the massacre and let them all have it in a message posted Tuesday on his official Facebook page. “Theresa May says such attacks ‘will not break us,’ but her own life is lived in a bullet-proof bubble, and she evidently does not need to identify any young people today in Manchester morgues,” he wrote. “Also, ‘will not break us’ means that the tragedy will not break her, or her policies on immigration. The young people of Manchester are already broken – thanks all the same, Theresa. Atlanta Journal

OPEC And Non-OPEC Nations Poised To Extend Output Cuts
OPEC and other oil nations meeting Thursday appeared set to extend their production cuts in an effort to shore up prices. But the intended impact could be short-lived.
That's due to U.S. shale producers. With crude prices above $50 a barrel from lows of last year, they are increasingly moving back into the market. Their output already is partially offsetting the cuts, and even more U.S. companies are poised to return if prices rise further. The upshot is that the price of oil — and derived products like fuel —is unlikely to increase much in coming months, analysts say. That will be welcome news to consumers and energy-hungry businesses worldwide but could continue to strain the budgets of some of the more economically-troubled oil-producing nations, like Venezuela and Brazil. Houston Chronicle

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Jury Selected For Bill Cosby's Sex Assault Trial
Seven men and five women, including two black jurors, will determine comedian Bill Cosby's fate at his upcoming sexual assault trial in Pennsylvania, after claims from his lawyers that race played a factor in their selection. Judge Steven O'Neill seated the 12th and final juror on Wednesday, along with six alternates, after three days of jury selection in Pittsburgh ahead of what will be the biggest celebrity trial in years. Cosby's lawyers on Tuesday accused prosecutors of deliberately excluding black jurors, a charge that O'Neill rejected absent further evidence. Both sides were permitted to strike a certain number of jurors without explanation. Prosecutors said they removed a black woman on Tuesday because she was a former police detective once accused of falsifying records, not because of her race. Last week, Cosby suggested in a radio interview that he has been treated worse during the scandal due to racism. Reuters

Obama Admin Knew Gang Members Were Part Of Illegal Immigrant Surge
The Obama administration knowingly let in at least 16 admitted MS-13 gang members who arrived at the U.S. as illegal immigrant teenagers in 2014, a top senator said Wednesday, citing internal documents that showed the teens were shipped to juvenile homes throughout the country. Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said a whistleblower turned over Customs and Border Protection documents from 2014 detailing the 16 persons who were caught crossing the border. “CBP apprehended them, knew they were MS-13 gang members, and they processed and disbursed them into our communities,” Mr. Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, said. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Just one of Obamas many sins.

Possibly Fake Russian Document Affected FBI's Investigation Into Clinton
A disputed Russian intelligence document obtained by the FBI during the 2016 election influenced the Bureau's then-director, James Comey, to personally announce the end of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's email server last summer, the Washington Post reports. The existence of the document has been confirmed by CBS News.
Comey's July 2016 announcement that the FBI would not recommend that charges be brought against Clinton while still criticizing her for maintaining a private email server was characterized as unprecedented at the time. Typically, when an FBI investigation ends without charges, the Bureau and the Department of Justice (DOJ) do not comment on the matter. CBS
VOA VIEW: Comey was dirty.

Trump Meeting With EU Leaders
Visiting a city he once called a "hellhole" to meet with the leaders of one alliance he threatened to abandon and another whose weakening he cheered, President Donald Trump will address a continent Thursday still reeling from his election and anxious about his support. Trump traveled Thursday morning to the European Union headquarters in Brussels for meetings with Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, and other EU officials. Philadelphia Inquirer

Manchester Bombing Probe Expands With Arrests On Two Continents
The investigation into a suicide blast that killed at least 22 people at a pop concert dramatically widened Wednesday, with security services on two continents rounding up suspects amid fears that the bombmaker who devised the bolt-spewing source of the carnage remains at large. The arrests stretched from the normally quiet lanes of a northern English town to the bustling streets of Tripoli, where Libyan officials said they had disrupted a planned attack by the suspected bomber's brother. But by day's end, British authorities acknowledged that they remained vulnerable to a follow-up attack, with the nation's state of alert stuck at "critical" - the highest possible level. Philadelphia Inquirer

Ben Carson Says Poverty Is A ‘State Of Mind’
Housing Secretary Ben Carson says poverty is a “state of mind.” In a radio interview Wednesday, the former neurosurgeon said parents need to instill in their children the “mindset of a winner.” “If you take somebody with the wrong mindset,” Carson says, “you can give them everything in the world and they’ll work their way back down to the bottom.” He made the remarks in an interview with Armstrong Williams on SiriusXM. Carson, who grew up poor in inner-city Detroit with a single mother who had a third-grade education, says if people don’t have a defeatist attitude, then there’s hope. “I think the majority of people don’t have that defeatist attitude, but they sometimes just don’t see the way, and that’s where government can come in and be very helpful.” NY Post
VOA VIEW: The truth hurts.

Jeff Sessions Left Russia Meetings Off His Security Clearance Application
Attorney General Jeff Sessions reportedly failed to disclose meetings last year that he had with Russian officials when he filed for a security clearance at the Justice Department. Sessions met more than once with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak but did not list those or any other meetings on the form which requires he include any contact with a “foreign government” or its “representatives” over the past seven years, CNN reported on Wednesday. The revelations was just the latest report that a Trump Administration officials, including former national security adviser Mike Flynn, had undisclosed contacts with Russians. CNN reported that, despite Justice Department guidelines, Sessions believed the meetings were not relevant because they took place “in his capacity” as a lawmaker — and not a campaign surrogate. NY Post

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Poll: MajorityBelieve Trump Is Abusing His Presidential Powers
A majority of people in the United States believe President Trump is abusing his powers, according to a new Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday. The poll found 54 percent believe Mr. Trump is abusing his presidential powers and 43 percent said he isn't. More than half of the public, 55 percent, said they believe Mr. Trump fired James Comey as FBI director to disrupt the federal investigation into possible collusion between Russian officials and Trump associates to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election. Fifty-four percent said they disapprove of Mr. Trump's decision to fire Comey, with 49 percent describing it as an abuse of power and 47 percent saying it was not an abuse. CBS
VOA VIEW: There is little to believe in a liberal media poll - they did not get the election right.

Flynn Hit With More Subpoenas, May Be Held In Contempt Of Congress
The Senate Intelligence Committee has announced two new subpoenas against former national security adviser Michael Flynn to compel him to turn over documents related to his contacts with Russian officials, adding that he risks being held in contempt of Congress if he does not comply with the requests. Flynn earlier this week invoked the Fifth Amendment and rejected the committee's subpoena for documents relating to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The Fifth Amendment gives an individual the right to avoid self-incrimination. ABC
VOA VIEW: Right or wrong - Flynn does have rights.

New TSA Procedures Target Electronics, Food
The Transportation Security Administration is testing new screening procedures that require travelers to remove electronics bigger than cellphones and some food items from their bags and place them in bins to be screened separately, ABC News has confirmed. If passengers don't comply, their bags may be opened for manual inspection. There is no specific threat associated with these items that requires them to be screened separately, and the change is not associated with the ban on laptops and other large electronics on flights originating from some Middle East airports; rather, the move is intended to increase efficiency. The TSA has found that everyday items can appear similar to explosives on an X-ray machine — which slows down lines because officers must manually inspect a large number of bags. ABC

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Global Cop Or America First: Trump's Risks On Afghanistan Plan
A deteriorating situation in Afghanistan may soon force President Donald Trump to decide which of two campaign promises to keep: end the U.S. role as the world’s policeman or vigorously fight terrorism. Either choice carries enormous risks. Sixteen years after invading Afghanistan, the U.S. effort to bolster the government in Kabul is failing and most of the 8,400 American troops are limited to training Afghan fighters who keep losing territory to the Taliban. One option Trump is weighing would add 5,000 troops. But that could increase military casualties without long-term gains in a country that has stymied foreign militaries dating back at least to the British occupation of the 1800s. Bloomberg

Fed's Hot-Or-Not Confusion On Economy To Shape Rate-Hike Debate
The U.S. job market is hot. Inflation is not. That’s the dilemma U.S. central bankers face right now as they wonder why low levels of economic slack aren’t raising prices. Federal Reserve officials are inclined to raise interest rates in June, minutes of their May meeting released Wednesday suggested. Their trepidation on what to do next, however, could increase. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent in April, the lowest level since 2007 and below the rate Fed officials view as maximum use of labor resources. Still, the consumer price index minus food and energy decelerated to 1.9 percent in April, compared with 2.3 percent in January. Bloomberg

Setting Aside Past Rude Talk, Trump And Pope Focus On Peace
Handshakes, gifts, friendly small talk and big hopes for peace. Setting aside past differences and rude comments aside, President Donald Trump and Pope Francis put a determinedly positive face on their first meeting Wednesday at the Vatican. The two global leaders, vastly different in temperament and views of the world, talked seriously and extensively in a 30-minute private meeting about terrorism, the radicalization of young people, immigration and climate change, officials said. Details were not revealed. But all was upbeat in public, peace the overarching theme. Francis gave Trump a medal featuring an olive branch. "We can use peace," said the president, acknowledging the symbolism. He gave the pope a custom-bound, first-edition set of Martin Luther King Jr.'s works, an engraved stone from the King Memorial in Washington and a bronze sculpture of a flowering lotus titled "Rising Above." Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: Peace is a good thing - liberals don't like it.

Carson Would Like To See HUD’s Name Changed
Housing Secretary Ben Carson wants to change the name of the sprawling federal agency he leads. Carson says he's has "a plan for eventually changing the name from Housing and Urban Development to Housing and Community Development." He made the remarks in an interview with Armstrong Williams on SiriusXM. Carson says he'd like the name to focus more on the agency's broad mission, which extends beyond cities and urban areas and deep into small towns and rural areas. He says it's really about "creating communities, communities of opportunity, wherever they exist." A name change for the agency would require congressional approval. Las Vegas Sun

Study Finds Chocolate May Decrease Risk Of Irregular Heartbeat
Harvard researchers have found consuming moderate amounts of chocolate may lower the risk of atrial fibrillation, or AF, a common type of irregular heartbeat. Previous research has shown that cocoa and cocoa-containing foods, especially dark chocolate -- with a higher cocoa content than milk chocolate -- have cardiovascular benefits due to their high content of flavanols. Flavanols promote healthy blood vessel function, according to researchers. Researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and researchers in Denmark conducted a study of 55,502 men and women who participated in the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health Study, which recruited participants from December 1993 to May 1997. Participants body mass index, or BMI, blood pressure and cholesterol were measured at the beginning of the study along with information on health conditions, diet and lifestyle. UPI

Trump Military Buget Proposal Aims To Increase Readiness
President Donald Trump's 2018 federal budget proposal includes a $52.7 billion increase in funds for the military over his administration's 2017 request. Trump is requesting $574.5 billion for the Department of Defense for 2018, in addition to another $64.6 billion requested for overseas contingency operations. The planned budget would increase the size of the U.S. military by 56,000 if it passed by Congress. The additional funding is meant for readiness, procurement of new systems, and overseas operations and deployments, Department of Defense officials said of the proposal. UPI

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TILLERSON: TRUMP 'VERY FORCEFUL' WITH NETANYAHU AND ABBAS TO COMPROMISE
US President Donald Trump put "a lot of pressure" on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to resume peace talks and make compromises, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters in Europe Wednesday. "There were very substantive discussions in Israel with both Netanyahu as well as Abbas." Jerusalem Post
VOA VIEW: Peace is only talk.

FORMER NSC CHIEF ARAD: NETANYAHU SHOULD PURSUE DEFENSE TREATY WITH AMERICA
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should try to capitalize on the goodwill generated from President Donald Trump’s visit to obtain a first-ever full defense treaty with the US, former National Security Council chief Uzi Arad told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. “Trump came showing political and emotional warmth” at such a strong level that “maybe this is a government which will raise” US-Israeli relations “to new levels, not only on a verbal level, but also institutionally,” Arad said. Jerusalem Post

White House denies 'egregious' budget accounting error
The White House has denied the president's budget proposal contains an "egregious" maths error. Former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers pointed out the spending plan double-counts $2tr (£1.5tr). But White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told reporters: "We stand by the numbers." Unveiled on Tuesday, the budget proposes deep cuts to welfare programmes. Mr Summers, also formerly chief economist of the World Bank, was one of the first to spot the apparent mistake. BBC

Manchester Attack: 'Fury' At US 'Evidence' Photos Leak
The UK government and police have reacted with anger after a US newspaper published photos apparently showing the scene of the Manchester bomb attack. Counter terror police chiefs said the leak undermined their investigation and victims' and witnesses' confidence. A Whitehall source added: "We are furious. This is completely unacceptable." Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said he had raised the leaks with the US ambassador. Earlier UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd said she was irritated with the US for releasing information about bomber Salman Abedi. Ms Rudd said she had told Washington "it should not happen again". BBC

Trump Debuts In Europe As Obama Returns To Stir Nostalgia For The Old Days
Donald Trump makes his European debut as US president this week just as his predecessor, Barack Obama, returns to the continent for his first visit since relinquishing the White House in January. While apparently unintentional, the coinciding visits serve to highlight Europe’s radically different view of the two men. A Pew Research Center survey last June found 77% of Europeans had confidence in Obama – and 9% in the man who has now succeeded him. The contrast will come into sharp focus on Thursday, when the current and former presidents have parallel public engagements in Europe, providing a split-screen comparison between their extreme differences. Guardian

Thousands Of Protesters Brand McDonald's The 'Trump Of Corporations'
Thousands took to the streets of downtown Chicago on Tuesday night calling McDonald’s the “Donald Trump of corporations” and protesting low wages and sexual harassment at the world’s largest fast food chain a day before the company’s annual shareholder meeting. The protest, coordinated by pressure groups including Fight for $15, a union-backed lobby group calling for a hike in US minimum wage, plan a second day of protests at McDonald’s annual shareholder meeting in Chicago on Wednesday morning. The marchers, many of them in red ponchos in the driving rain, marched between Trump Tower and the Rock’n’Roll McDonald’s, the company’s flagship restaurant in its hometown. Guardian

Russian Intelligence 'Recorded Discussing Influencing Donald Trump'
American spies learned last summer that Russian officials discussed influencing Donald Trump through his senior advisers, it has been reported. Russian intelligence and political operatives sought to win support from Paul Manafort, Mr Trump's then election campaign chairman, and Michael Flynn, who was fired as White House national security adviser in February over his conversations with Russia's ambassador in Washington. Telegraph

Sicilian tourist town prepares special 'The Donald' gelato ahead of G7 summit
Only in Italy would a tribute to an American president take the form of a big dollop of ice cream. As Donald Trump prepares to descend on the clifftop town of Taormina in Sicily for the G7 summit, a gelateria has come up with a special ice cream it is calling The Trump Cup. Three scoops of gelato in red, white and blue represent the US flag, while the piece de la resistance is a wisp of spun sugar, to evoke the Republican President’s peculiar hair style. “The sugar will be bright orange or yellow,” said Beata Kornafel, 37, from behind the counter of the Fanaberia gelateria on the cobbled main street of Taormina.Telegraph

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