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Under Fire: Congress Eyes Requiring Gun Liability Insurance
Gun owners will have to carry liability insurance if a bill introduced Friday by New York House Democrat Rep. Carolyn Maloney successfully makes its way through Congress. Rep. Maloney’s The Firearm Risk Protection Act would subject gun owners to a $10,000 fine if they ignored a mandate for liability insurance before obtaining a weapon, The Hill reported Friday. “We require insurance to own a car, but no such requirement exists for guns. The results are clear: car fatalities have declined by 25 percent in the last decade, but gun fatalities continue to rise,” the congresswoman said Friday, the newspaper reported. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Insurance is an infringement prohibited by the Constitution.
Poster Creator Says He's Run Out Of Hope For Obama
Shepard Fairey says he's run out of hope for President Barack Obama. Fairey is a street artist who is behind the designs for the clothing line OBEY, was featured in the Banksy documentary "Exit Through the Gift Shop" and is most known for designing Obama's famous "Hope" poster. Esquire magazine interviewed him in a piece published on Thursday where he talks music, art and Obama. When Esquire asked Fairey if Obama lived up to his "Hope" poster, Fairey responded, "Not even close."
"Obama has had a really tough time, but there have been a lot of things that he's compromised on that I never would have expected," Fairey said. "I'm not giving him a pass for not being more courageous, but I do think the entire system needs an overhaul and taking money out of politics would be a really good first step." CNN
Average 1stQ GDP Growth Of Any President On Record
Even if you leave out the first quarter of 2009—when the recession that started in December 2007 was still ongoing--President Barack Obama has presided over the lowest average first-quarter GDP growth of any president who has served since 1947, which is the earliest year for which the Bureau of Economic Analysis has calculated quarterly GDP growth. In all first quarters since 1947, the real annual rate of growth of GDP has averaged 4.0 percent. In the seven first quarters during Obama’s presidency, it has declined by an average of -0.43 percent. And if you leave out the first quarter of 2009 and look only at the first quarters of the six years since the recession ended, it has averaged only 0.4 percent. CNS News
VOA VIEW: Obama has done all possible to bankrupt the nation.
Motors, Subaru Models Added To Takata Recall List
General Motors and Subaru are adding vehicles to the growing list of models being recalled by 11 automakers due to potentially exploding air bags. GM is adding about 375,000 GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado heavy-duty pickup trucks from 2007 and 2008 to the recall in North America. Dealers will replace passenger air bag inflators. Subaru is adding about 60,000 Impreza small cars from the 2004 and 2005 model years plus the 2005 Saab 9-2X made by Subaru. The recall also covers passenger air bags. MSNBC
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Officially Off U.S. Terror Blacklist
The United States officially removed Cuba from its list of countries that sponsor terrorism on Friday, setting the two nations up for a full renewal of diplomatic ties.
President Barack Obama originally announced in April that he was recommending that Cuba be removed from the terror blacklist after a State Department review. Friday marked the expiration of a 45-day period when Congress could have blocked the move. "The rescission of Cuba's designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism reflects our assessment that Cuba meets the statutory criteria," the State Department said in a statement Friday. CNN
Broadband: FCC Chairman Plans To Expand ‘Obama Phone’ Program To Internet
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler announced on Thursday that he intends to expand Lifeline, popularly known as the “Obama Phone” program, to the Internet. “I am circulating new proposals to “reboot” Lifeline for the Internet age,” Wheeler wrote in a blog post on the FCC’s Website. He said the reboot would include “establishing minimum standards of service for voice and broadband,” in addition to subsidies for low-income consumers. Lifeline is a government benefit program that provides a monthly subsidy of $9.95 on telephone service for those at or below 135 percent of the poverty line so they can connect to the nation's communications networks, find jobs, access health care services, connect with family and their children's schools, and call for help in an emergency. CNS
VOA VIEW: More Obama madness.
Anthrax Found In U.S. Military Shipment To Australia
An investigation of a U.S. military facility's mistaken shipments of live anthrax bacteria has turned up another live sample, this one from a 2008 batch sent to Australia, a U.S. defense official said on Friday. The disclosure, if confirmed, suggests the possibility of a broader problem among anthrax samples meant to have been made inactive at the U.S. Army's Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. Suspected live samples sourced to Dugway have already been traced going to nine U.S. states and a U.S. air base in South Korea over a period from March 2014 to April 2015 before being discovered this month. Reuters
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Could Hit California, But Not Like In 'San Andreas' Quake Movie
A new study calls attention to the tsunami hazard posed by a little-understood jumble of seafloor faults off the coast of Southern California — just in time to ride the wave of hype generated by the big-budget disaster movie "San Andreas." The study's lead author, geologist Mark Legg, says a real-life offshore earthquake and tsunami wouldn't exactly follow Hollywood's script for a washout of Los Angeles or San Diego. Nevertheless, he says the hazard deserves more attention than it's received.
"That has not been looked at carefully when it comes to the potential for large earthquakes and tsunamis from offshore faults," Legg, who runs a Southern California consulting firm called Legg Geophysical, told NBC News. Washington Times
Foundation Collected Hefty Sum From Smaller Charity
In 2014, former President Bill Clinton accepted an award at a gala benefiting the Happy Hearts Fund, a charity benefitting schools impacted by natural disasters. However, the New York Times reports, Mr. Clinton's appearance at the event came after the charity agreed to give $500,000 to Mr. Clinton's much larger nonprofit, the Clinton Foundation. The Happy Hearts Fund repeatedly invited Mr. Clinton to its annual galas, but he did not attend "until there was a thinly veiled solicitation and then the offer of an honorarium," the charity's former executive director, Sue Veres Royal, told the New York Times. CBS
VOA VIEW: The Clinton foundation is a fraud.
Wins Re-Election As FIFA Chief Amid Corruption Scandal
Sepp Blatter was re-elected as FIFA president for a fifth term on Friday, chosen to lead world soccer despite separate U.S. and Swiss criminal investigations into corruption. The 209 FIFA member federations gave the 79-year-old Blatter another four-year term after Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan conceded defeat after losing 133-73 in the first round. Prince Ali's promise of a clean break from FIFA's tarnished recent history was rejected despite the worst scandal in the organization's 111-year history. "I like you, I like my job," Blatter said to cheering voters. "I am not perfect, nobody is perfect, but we will do a good job together I am sure." CBS
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PAC Backing Rand Paul: Get Ready To Brawl Over Patriot Act
A major brawl is set to take place Sunday -- not on pay-per-view but on the floor of the U.S. Senate -- according to a video released by Liberty PAC, a super PAC that is supporting but not endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul's presidential campaign. The minute-long video shows a clearly Photoshopped Paul, shirtless and buff, ready to take on President Obama as the Patriot Act is set to expire Sunday evening if the Senate does not renew the controversial law. In recent days, Paul's campaign against the Patriot Act has also been aimed to help build his campaign war chest. He’s called on his supporters to donate to his campaign for the White House in order to defeat the "spying" law. ABC
Said To Give $100 Million To Boost Ethanol Use In Cars
The Obama administration is set to pledge $100 million Friday to expand the use of special fuel pumps that allow drivers to blend more ethanol into their gasoline, according to people briefed on the announcement. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has long championed these so-called blender pumps, may unveil the plan on the same day that the Environmental Protection Agency announces quotas for the use of renewable fuels. With ethanol makers facing a possible cut in their quota below the statutory level of 15 billion gallons, the grant program will let the administration of President Barack Obama demonstrate that it still supports the fuel, which in the U.S. is produced mostly from corn. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: Another payoff.
Vows To Hold Out Another Week As EU Aims To Seal Deal
The Greek government said it can survive another week without defaulting on the International Monetary Fund as European officials warned the window for accessing aid is closing. Greece will be able to scrape together enough cash to make a payment of about 300 million euros ($329 million) due to the IMF on June 5, Economy Minister George Stathakis said in an interview with Real News newspaper published Friday. “The country has been servicing its loans through internal resources for the past year,” Stathakis said. “It will do the same this time.” Euro-region finance officials told Greece in a teleconference this week that there won’t be time to get a disbursement approved by European parliaments before the bailout expires at the end of June unless they reach a technical agreement next week. Bloomberg
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Round Of Rain Brings More Serious Flooding In Texas
Floodwaters submerged highways and threatened homes Friday in Texas as another round of heavy rain added to the damage inflicted by storms that have killed at least 22 people and left 13 missing. The line of thunderstorms that stalled over Dallas dropped as much as 7 more inches overnight. That rainfall contributed to another death early Friday, when firefighters in a Dallas suburb said a man drowned in his truck after it was swept into a culvert. Houston-area authorities confirmed the death of an 87-year-old man who was swept away when a boat attempting to rescue him from a bayou overturned. The man had previously been counted among the missing. His body was recovered from the Houston Ship Channel. The rain also seeped into homes and stranded hundreds of drivers, many of whom lingered along highways that were nearly gridlocked from the high water and abandoned vehicles. ABC
Google is willing to store and organize all of the world's digital photos and videos for free. The online photo service announced Thursday is the latest example of Google's desire to wrap its tentacles around virtually every part of people's lives. Google will provide unlimited storage of all photos up to 16 megapixels and high-definition video up to 1080p. The service, called Google Photos, will be available as an app on Android and Apple devices, and on a website, http://photos.google.com. It's a variation of the photo-management tool on Google Plus, a social networking service that has struggled to compete against Facebook since its 2011 debut. Las Vegas Sun
Says Ex-House Speaker Hastert Paid Hush Money
A newly unveiled indictment against former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert accuses the Republican of agreeing to pay $3.5 million in hush money to keep a person from the town where he was a longtime schoolteacher silent about "prior misconduct." But it offers few hints about a central question: What was the alleged wrongdoing? The concise federal grand jury indictment handed down Thursday accuses Hastert of agreeing to pay the money to a person identified in the document only as "Individual A," to "compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct against" that person. Las Vegas Sun
Shows That 'Lost' Memories Can Be Recalled
Using mice in a lab, researchers have shown that a memory "lost" to amnesia may actually be blocked from retrieval rather than excised from the brain. Researchers found that when blocking protein synthesis within a group of cells in the hippocampus they were able to prevent mice from recalling a trained memory of being shocked when put inside a specific cage. Once the synthesis was permitted to happen again, the mice recalled why they feared the cage where they'd previously been shocked. UPI News
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Says Green Laser Pointed At Four Planes Over Long Island
The Federal Aviation Administration and New York State Park Police are searching for whomever pointed a laser at four planes flying over Long Island Thursday night. The laser came from Bethpage State Park and was aimed at the planes, all of which had taken off from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport, according to FAA officials. Several pilots reported the green laser as they were flying at an altitude of about 8,000 feet northwest of Farmingdale between 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., said FAA officials. The targeted planes were American Airlines Flight 185 bound for Los Angeles; Shuttle America Flight 4213 bound for Cleveland; Delta Airlines Flight 2292 bound for Boston and Delta Flight 2634 bound for Buffalo. Fox News
Paying Private Lawyers $1,000 An Hour, Despite ‘Underfunding’ Complaints
Despite repeated cries of agency poverty from IRS leaders, a top Republican senator says the nation's chief revenue collector is paying private attorneys more than $1,000 an hour to help conduct a high-profile audit. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, fired off a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen airing his concerns earlier this month. Hatch questioned not only the cost of the contract, but the decision to use an outside contractor for an investigation involving potentially sensitive tax information. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Political payoffs.
Nominates New Pipeline, Rail Administrators At Transportation Department
President Barack Obama on Friday nominated new administrators for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration, the White House said. Marie Therese Dominguez, an assistant secretary at the Defense Department who has worked at the Transportation Department and National Transportation Safety Board, will be nominated as head of PHMSA, the White House said. Sarah Feinberg, a former White House adviser, will be nominated as head of the Federal Railroad Administration. Both positions require confirmation from the Senate. Reuters
Face 'Fillers' Can Go Wrong, FDA Warns
Cosmetic facial fillers, which can plump thin lips or erase wrinkles, can go badly and tragically wrong, the Food and Drug Administration warned Thursday. If the materials used to fill the skin get into a blood vessel, they can cause a stroke, blindness, or kill off big patches of skin, the FDA says in a new warning. "Unintentional injection can block blood vessels and restrict blood supply to tissues," the FDA says in its warning to consumers and doctors. "Soft tissue fillers should be injected only by health care providers who have appropriate training and experience and who are knowledgeable about the anatomy at and around the injection site," it adds. MSNBC
Of World's Declared Chemical Weapon Stocks Destroyed
Most of the world's declared stocks of chemical weapons, including sulfur mustard gas and precursor chemicals for sarin, have been destroyed. Ambassador Ahmet Uzumcu, director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said in a statement that his organization had verified that 90 percent of declared chemical weapons stocks have been eliminated -- "a major milestone that shows we are well on the way to ridding the world of chemical weapons." UPI News
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Moves Like Palestinian 'Provocation' At FIFA Distance Peace
Israeli efforts thwarted a Palestinian attempt to oust the Jewish state from FIFA, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday. The premier made the remarks following the announcement that the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) had dropped its proposal to suspend Israel from soccer's world governing body. "This Palestinian provocation joins the unilateral measures taken by the Palestinians through other international institutions," Netanyahu said in a statement. "As long as they are taking these step, they only distance peace instead of bring it closer." Jerusalem Post
Pan Withdrawal Of Motion To Suspend Israel From FIFA
Palestinians criticized the Palestine Football Association (PFA) for dropping its motion on Friday asking for Israel to be suspended by FIFA, while Israelis welcomed the move. In the West Bank city of Ramallah, residents voiced criticism and disappointment after PFA President Jabril Rajoub announced the withdrawal of the bid that would have meant that Israeli teams could not take part in international competitions. "The Palestinian BDS (Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel) national committee is disappointed that that the entire FIFA congress, including the Palestinian Football Association, have not lived up to their obligations and stated principles. Jerusalem Post
Militants In Libya 'Seize Sirte Airport'
Islamic State militants in Libya say they have seized the airport in the city of Sirte, as the group continues to make advances in the country. The news was announced by the group and by a Libyan militia that withdrew from the coastal city's airport on Thursday. Most of Sirte, former leader Muammar Gaddafi's hometown, fell to IS last week. In a statement, the group said it had also seized the Great Man Made River water project. The irrigation project, the world's largest, supplies fresh water to Libyan cities and was also the base for the opposition Battalion 166, which has now fled. BBC
Host Rapid Reaction US Military Force
Spain has agreed to host a US rapid reaction military force to deal with crises in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. The deal will allow 2,200 US troops and 500 civilian staff to be permanently stationed near the city of Seville. They will be able to launch missions to protect their embassies, rescue US citizens and intervene in military conflicts and humanitarian crises. The Moron air base in southern Spain already hosts 850 US troops. "The aim is to contribute to the stability of the region and common security in Africa, Europe and the Middle East," said Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria. BBC
Paul Declares Surveillance 'War' And Hints At Filibuster For NSA Reform
Rand Paul indicated his intention on Friday to filibuster a surveillance reform bill that he considers insufficient, as privacy advocates felt momentum to tear the heart out of the Bush-era Patriot Act as its Snowden-era expiration date approaches. With controversial provisions of the Patriot Act scheduled to run out at midnight on Sunday, Paul, the Kentucky senator and Republican presidential hopeful, fielded questions about how he intended to win privacy campaigners a long hoped-for victory.
“I can talk for a long time,” Paul told a cheering crowd in South Carolina, home to an important presidential primary. Guardian
Than 10,000 Websites 'Blackout' Congress In Protest Of NSA Surveillanc
More than 10,000 websites blocked users from computers in Congress on Friday, in a demonstration against any possible re-authorization of NSA surveillance powers.
“This is a blackout,” read the site to which computers from congressional IP addresses were redirected. “We are blocking your access until you end mass surveillance laws.” “Right now the code affects only visitors from Congress, we’re willing to keep it up,” said Holmes Wilson, a co-founder of Fight for the Future, the group which wrote the code and is leading the online protest. Guardian
Rights Office Welcomes Nebraska As Latest US State To Abolish Death Penalty
Welcoming Nebraska as the nineteenth state in the United States to abolish the death penalty, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today urged the Federal Government to engage with those states retaining the policy towards achieving a nationwide moratorium as a first step to abolition. “We welcome the abolition of the death penalty in the state of Nebraska on Wednesday,” said OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani, who added that Nebraska has not executed any inmates since 1997. States, such as Colorado, Delaware, Montana and Kansas, whose legislative bodies are currently debating the abolition of the death penalty, are encouraged to follow Nebraska’s lead, Ms. Shamdasani said. UN News
Honours Fallen Peacekeepers; Looks To Past, Present And Future Of ‘Invaluable’
On the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the “invaluable contribution” of peacekeeping to the history of the Organization and reaffirmed his commitment to improving the effectiveness of 'blue helmets' in the coming years. “Since its beginning in 1948, United Nations peacekeeping has evolved into one of the main tools used by the international community to manage complex crises that threaten international peace and security,” said Mr. Ban in message to mark the Day. UN News
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