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Trump: Kim Jong Un Made 'Very Wise' Decision To Back Down
President Trump said Wednesday that North Korea’s Kim Jong Un made a “very wise” decision in backing down on his threats of a missile attack on Guam, in the U.S. president’s first formal comments on the apparent de-escalation. “Kim Jong Un of North Korea made a very wise and well reasoned decision. The alternative would have been both catastrophic and unacceptable!” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. He commented a day after North Korean media reported the dictator had delayed a decision about whether to fire missiles toward Guam. Fox
VOA VIEW: The decision was wise of Un's part.

Hope Hicks Tapped For Interim White House Communications Director
Hope Hicks, the 28-year-old press aide who has worked with President Trump since before the campaign, has been named interim White House communications director, Fox News has learned. A senior White House source told Fox News that Hicks will fill the role until the White House finds a permanent replacement. The announcement follows Anthony Scaramucci’s ouster from that post after just 11 days on the job. President Trump fired Scaramucci in the wake of profanity-laced comments he made about his then-White House colleagues to The New Yorker, which published the remarks. New Chief of Staff John Kelly was said to have pressed for Scaramucci’s firing. In picking Hicks to fill the role in the interim, the president is going with a loyal press aide who has been with him since before his entry into politics. Hicks has been in the Trump orbit since her early 20’s, first working for a PR firm and its client Ivanka Trump and later joining the Trump Organization. Fox
VOA VIEW: A good choice for now.

What's The 'Alt-Left'? Experts Say It's A 'Made-Up Term'
President Donald Trump equated white supremacist marchers in Charlottesville to counterprotesters by calling them "alt-left," prompting an immediate backlash and questions about the term itself. "What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, the alt-right, do they have any semblance of guilt ... What about the fact they came charging with clubs in hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do," Trump said at a news conference Tuesday referring to a rally in Charlottesville that turned violent over the weekend. Many people have never heard of the "alt-left," but "alt-right" is a term that's found its way into popular culture and the vernacular of politicians and journalists. CNN
VOA VIEW: Trump should not stand down - the American people want a fighter.

Conservatism’s Damaging Game Of Footsie With The Alt-Right
Last year around this time (and the year before that), I was arguing with some of my fellow conservatives about the insanity of finding any common cause whatsoever with the so-called alt-right. The issue wasn’t that every avowed nationalist who claimed membership in the alt-right was a Nazi or Klansman. It was that the alt-right was open to Nazis and Klansmen. And why wouldn’t these newly minted white supremacists welcome such pioneering organizations to their cause? Right-wing cynics, hucksters, and opportunists deliberately blurred these distinctions in the name of a right-wing popular front. Steve Bannon, now a White House consigliere, is by most accounts not a bigot in his personal dealings. But when he ran Breitbart, he had no problem making it a “platform” for the alt-right. Internet entertainer Milo Yiannopoulos was a Breitbart star for his defenses of the alt-right and its supposedly hilarious Holocaust jokes. He was let go (and disinvited from the Conservative Political Action Conference) only when it was revealed he was equally broad-minded about some expressions of pedophilia as he was about some expressions of Nazism. National Review


Iceland Eliminates People With Down Syndrome
BS News reported earlier this week that Iceland is leading the world in “eradicating Down syndrome births.” One might be forgiven for assuming that Iceland has developed an innovative treatment for the chromosomal disorder. It turns out Iceland’s solution is much simpler, and much more sinister: using prenatal testing and abortion to systematically exterminate children with Down syndrome. This isn’t progress; it’s eugenics. Prenatal testing is optional in Iceland, but the government mandates that doctors notify women of that option. About 85 percent of expectant mothers undergo the test, and close to 100 percent of those women choose to abort if their child is diagnosed with Down syndrome. Just two children with Down syndrome are born in Iceland each year, often as the result of faulty testing. The CBS article does little to accord this subject the moral gravity it deserves. “Other countries aren’t lagging too far behind in Down syndrome termination rates,” the authors note casually. CBS News’s tweet promoting the story read simply: “Iceland is on pace to virtually eliminate Down syndrome through abortion.” National Review

Historians Question Trump’s Comments On Confederate Monuments
President Trump is not generally known as a student of history. But on Tuesday, during a combative exchange with reporters at Trump Tower in New York, he unwittingly waded into a complex debate about history and memory that has roiled college campuses and numerous cities over the past several years. Asked about the white nationalist rally that ended in violence last weekend in Charlottesville, Va., Mr. Trump defended some who had gathered to protect a statue of Robert E. Lee, and criticized the “alt-left” counterprotesters who had confronted them. “Many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee,” Mr. Trump said. “So this week, it is Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down.” NY Times
VOA VIEW: Trump is saying what many are thinking - don't change.

Amazon Shares Fall After Trump Says It Hurts Retailers
U.S. President Donald Trump once again unloaded on Inc., tweeting that the company is hurting other retailers and implying that it’s killing industry jobs across the U.S. Amazon is causing "great damage to tax paying retailers," Trump said in a Twitter post Wednesday, causing shares in the online retailer to fall as much as 1.2 percent in early trading. “Towns, cities and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt - many jobs being lost!” Trump said in the tweet. Trump is losing the support of many company executives, some of whom resigned this week from a council of business leaders to protest the president’s response to the violent demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia. But he has often taken particular aim at Amazon and the Washington Post, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, for its coverage. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: Trump must stay tuff.

SpaceX Dragon Delivers Supplies (And Science) To Space Station
A SpaceX Dragon cargo ship arrived at the International Space Station early Wednesday (Aug. 16), delivering 3 tons of supplies, experiments and even some ice cream for the orbiting lab's crew. A SpaceX Dragon cargo ship arrived at the International Space Station early Wednesday (Aug. 16), delivering 3 tons of supplies, experiments and even some ice cream for the orbiting lab's crew. The uncrewed Dragon spacecraft was captured by astronauts using the station's robotic arm at 6:52 a.m. EDT (1052 GMT) as the two spacecraft were flying over the Pacific Ocean, just north of New Zealand. Google News


GOP Thinks It Has Winning Message On Taxes
GOP lawmakers and strategists think they have a winning message on tax reform. After a brutal fight over ObamaCare that included difficult votes and a painful loss on the Senate floor in July, Republicans are eager to move on to tax reform, which they argue will create jobs, simplify the tax code and put more money in people’s wallets. Republicans desperately want to enact major legislation after the failure on ObamaCare, which was hastened by the dismal poll numbers of the GOP repeal bills. Republicans can’t afford to run into similar problems on their next top legislative goal. The GOP thinks tax reform will be different, in part simply because tax cuts are an easier sell than the healthcare overhaul, which would have taken away benefits from millions of people. The Hill

Jared And Ivanka Aren't Pushing Bannon Out--Yet
The neo-Nazi protests in Charlottesville have thrown renewed scrutiny on the relationship between Steve Bannon, Trump’s senior strategist and alt-right folk hero, and Jared and Ivanka, his family members and advisers, who also happen to be observant Jews. An hour before sunrise on Sunday morning, Ivanka Trump sent out two tweets from her vacation home on her father’s golf course, in Bedminster, New Jersey, condemning the violent protests that had occurred a day earlier in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the hate groups who promulgated them. “There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis,” Ivanka, the First Daughter and senior White House adviser wrote, in one tweet. It was followed soon after by another, which read: “We must all come together as Americans -- and be one country UNITED. #Charlottesville.” Vanity Fair
VOA VIEW: Trump must not let the liberal media and some major businesses change his agenda - he won without them.

Birmingham Covers Up Confederate Monument
Alabama's largest city has used a wooden structure to cover up a Confederate monument in a downtown park. Legislators passed a law earlier this year prohibiting the removal of structures including rebel memorials. So Birmingham Mayor William Bell ordered the city's 52-foot-tall Confederate obelisk covered with wooden panels. The box-like structure covers a panel that says the memorial to Confederate soldiers and sailors was dedicated in 1905 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. City workers began installing the structure Tuesday night, just days after deadly violence over a Confederate monument in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Birmingham mayor's office says it's looking at ways to challenge the state law restricting the city's authority to remove the memorial. ABC News

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Theresa May On Trump Comments: Far-Right Should Always Be Condemned
Theresa May has said it is important to condemn far-right views "wherever we hear them" as she was asked about Donald Trump's response to clashes in the United States. The PM said: "I see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them." President Trump has faced criticism for blaming both sides for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. A woman was killed when a car hit people opposed to a far-right rally. The UK prime minister added: "I think it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far-right views wherever we hear them." BBC
VOA VIEW: What about far left views - hate is hate.

Baltimore Takes Down Confederate Statues In Middle Of Night
Confederate-era monuments have been taken down in the middle of the night in Baltimore. Journalists in the city in Maryland, US, tweeted that the statues were being removed days after a city council vote on the issue.The memorials in the city include the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Mount Royal Avenue, the Confederate Women’s Monument on West University Parkway, the Roger B Taney Monument on Mount Vernon Place, and the Robert E Lee and Thomas J “Stonewall” Jackson Monument in the Wyman Park Dell. Confederate-era monuments fell back into the spotlight at the weekend when a civil rights activist died during violence at a far-right protest in Charlottesville, Virginia against plans to removal of a statue of Robert E Lee, who commanded the Confederate army of northern Virginia. Journalist Baynard Woods posted video of the Taney and Women’s monuments being driven away. The Guardian

‘Bathroom Bill’ Dies Again In Texas As Session Abruptly Ends
A Texas "bathroom bill" targeting transgender people died again late Tuesday along with many of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's summer demands as an already bruising legislative session was derailed by Republican backbiting that could preview an even nastier 2018 primary season. It is the second time that North Carolina-style bathroom restrictions have failed to pass in Texas, and Abbott gave no indication he would order weary lawmakers to stay in Austin and try again — which would risk a third failure over what has erupted into one of the most high-profile bills in any U.S. legislature. Corporate heavyweights from Amazon to Exxon Mobil lined up against the measure, as did some top law enforcement agencies, and opponents celebrated the latest failure despite the support from the governor and influential social conservatives who drive GOP politics and primaries in Texas. Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: The vote was right and good.


Wall Street Opens Higher; Investors Eye Fed Minutes
U.S. stocks opened higher on Wednesday morning ahead of the latest Federal Reserve's minutes, which will offer investors clues on future interest rake hikes this year. The central bank will release the details of the July policy meeting at 1400 ET (1800 GMT). Policymakers unanimously decided to keep interest rates unchanged in the July 25-26 meeting and said they planned to reduce the central bank's massive holdings of bonds "relatively soon". "Investors are looking at expectations of rates going up, but not right away, in a measured pace," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital. "I don't believe the Fed's going to bring any shocking news to investors." A slide in inflation readings in recent months, which remain below the Fed's 2 percent target rate, have made the markets skeptical about a rate hike by December. Reuters

Kim Jong-Un 'No Longer Seen As God' As Worshipping North Koreans 'Place Their Faith Elsewhere'
The North Korean regime continues to persecute anyone practising religion within its borders, according to a new US government study, although reports from within the country suggest that more people are turning to religion. In some cases, the regime's persecution can be as extreme as imprisonment, torture and even execution, the study claimed. The US State Department released the annual report on global religious freedoms on Tuesday, with North Korea singled out for denying its people the "right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion". "The government continued to deal harshly with those who engaged in almost any religious practices through executions, torture, beatings and arrests", the report states. The Telegraph
VOA VIEW: Only fools deny GOD.

Advance Praise For Hillary Clinton’s “What Happened”
I mean, I’m going to read it, obviously. I just don’t find anything about it very funny or hot, neither of which I think is a lot to ask of a book about a would-be President.” “To be completely frank, I just hate the cover. The colors and the font choice seem a little pushy. It’s, like, hello, we get it. You want us to buy your book. Pander much?” “It’s fine, I guess, although personally I think she should have talked about jobs more. I guess she does say ‘jobs’ a bunch of times in the book, but who wants to read some boring book all about jobs? Not me, man, not me.” “Yeah, it’s obviously a great book, but are they even advertising it in Wisconsin? How are people going to know that they should choose to buy this book rather than, say, a piece of paper covered in incoherent riddles and poison?” “I purchased this book, but I do think it is morally bereft and evil. I guess if I were to compare it to, like, ‘Lolita,’ a book about someone who lusts after his own step-daughter, it’s not as bad. In fact, I’d argue that this book is the lesser of two evils, if only because this book never describes at length the desire to look at underage girls undressing. But I can confidently say that is the only difference.” The New Yorker

‘A Treacherous President Stood In The Way’
By December of 1866, the Civil War was over, but the conflict that would define the nature of the United States of America was not close to finished. Encouraged by President Andrew Johnson, a Democrat sympathetic to their aims, the former Confederate states had eagerly subjected the newly freed slaves to the Black Codes, laws confining them to inferior status and second-class citizenship, denying them votes, citizenship and even freedom of movement, while armed groups of whites attacked them with impunity. In vetoing the Civil Rights Act of 1866, Johnson insisted that the law protecting the freedmen’s rights was in fact “made to operate in favor of the colored against the white race.” The Atlantic

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And Japan Conduct Air Drills As Pyongyang Considers Guam Attackus
Japanese jets conducted air maneuvers with US bombers southwest of the Korean peninsula on Wednesday as North Korea considered whether to fire missiles towards the US-administered territory of Guam. Reclusive North Korea has made no secret of its plan to develop a missile capable of firing a nuclear warhead at the United States to counter what it perceives as constant US threats of invasion. It has ignored warnings from the West and from its lone major ally, China, to halt its nuclear and missile tests which it conducts in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions. The exercise in the East China Sea involved two US Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers flying from Andersen Air Force Base on the Pacific island of Guam and two Japanese F-15 jet fighters, Japan's Air Self Defense Force said in a news release. Jerusalem Post

Governor Signs Bill Making Oregon First To Offer Free Abortions For All, Including Illegal Aliens
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed a landmark bill to provide free abortions for all, including illegal immigrants, by requiring insurance companies to cover the procedures and putting taxpayers on the hook for the tab. The long-awaited signing of House Bill 3391, approved by the state legislature July 5 with no Republican votes, triggered a torrent of criticism from conservatives along with praise from the pro-choice movement. “Thank Kate Brown for signing the nation’s most progressive reproductive health bill into law today!” said NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon in a statement. The $10.2 million Reproductive Health Equity Act includes $500,000 for abortions for the estimated 22,873 women who would be eligible for the Oregon Health Plan, the state’s Medicaid program, “except for their immigration status.” The Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Total madness.

Army Black Hawk Chopper Carrying 5 Missing Off Hawaii Coast
The U.S. Army and Coast Guard are investigating a downed military Black Hawk helicopter off the Hawaii coast, authorities said Wednesday. The Army UH-60 helicopter, with five people aboard, was reported down two miles west of Kaena Point on the island of Oahu. A debris field was spotted late Tuesday at that location, after the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Command Center in Honolulu received notice from Wheeler Army Airfield of lost communications with the chopper crew. Two Black Hawk crews were conducting training exercises when communication was lost, the USCG statement said. The Coast Guard has involved its cutter Ahi, other ships and a helicopter in the search. Army choppers and boat from the Honolulu Fire Department are also involved. UPI

Everyone Thinks That Automation Will Take Our Jobs. The Evidence Disagrees.
Last year, the Japanese company SoftBank opened a cell phone store in Tokyo and staffed it entirely with sales associates named Pepper. This wasn’t as hard as it sounds, since all the Peppers were robots. Humanoid robots, to be more precise, which SoftBank describes as “kindly, endearing, and surprising.” Each Pepper is equipped with three multidirectional wheels, an anticollision system, multiple sensors, a pair of arms, and a chest-mounted tablet that allows customers to enter information. Pepper can “express his own emotions” and use a 3-D camera and two HD cameras “to identify movements and recognize the emotions on the faces of his interlocutors.” The talking bot can supposedly identify joy, sadness, anger, and surprise and determine whether a person is in a good or bad mood—abilities that Pepper’s engineers figured would make “him” an ideal personal assistant or salesperson. And sure enough, there are more than 10,000 Peppers now at work in SoftBank stores, Pizza Huts, cruise ships, homes, and elsewhere. Wired
VOA VIEW: Automation will take jobs.

Trump And Russia: Lots Of Talk, But Critics Say There's No Clear Strategy
Most U.S. presidents pursue a two-track policy with Russia: confrontation on some fronts, cooperation on others. President John F. Kennedy waged a showdown with the Soviet Union during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 — and signed a nuclear test ban treaty with Moscow the following year. Ronald Reagan famously called the Soviets "the evil empire" — and reached a major arms control deal with them. Barack Obama got Russia to join a sanctions campaign against Iran — and also imposed sanctions against Moscow. "I think it's important that the U.S. be able to walk and chew gum in its relations with Russia," said James Dobbins, who worked on Russia issues at the State Department for decades and is now with the Rand Corp. "We need a policy that confronts them where we need to and cooperates with them where we can," he added. Managing the U.S.-Russia relationship is one of the most important jobs for any president. Yet for all the talk about President Trump and Russia, here's the irony: He has yet to lay out a grand plan for dealing with Moscow. NPR

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White House Aides Wrestle With Their Own Futures After Trump’s Race Comments
White House aides are wrestling with how to respond to President Donald Trump’s defiant newsconference on Tuesday in which he doubled down on his statement that “both sides” are to blame for the Charlottesville violence and offered what some perceived to be overtures to white supremacists. No aides had yet threatened to resign as of Wednesday morning, according to White House officials and advisers, but a number of White House staffers had private conversations on Tuesday night about how terribly the day went. POLITICO

About 1 In 4 Americans Would Follow Trump To The End -- About The Same Share That Totally Rejects Him
Donald Trump famously said early in the 2016 campaign that he could "stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose voters." For about 1 in 4 Americans, that just might be true, a new poll indicates. Asked if they could "think of anything that Trump could do, or fail to do, in his term as president that would make you disapprove of the job he is doing," about 60% of Trump supporters said no, according to a new nationwide poll released by Monmouth University in New Jersey. That's equivalent to about one-quarter of all Americans overall, given Trump's current level of support. LA Times
VOA VIEW: Trump would win again if the vote was taken today - he cannot listen to the liberals and even some to the right, their scared.

NY Schools To Use Vaping, Bullying Detectors
Smoking and vaping are banned in all New York schools. Now schools are testing technology that can smoke out offenders. The new technology inside a little box may play a big role in holding students who break the law accountable. "If we get a spike above the line then we know if there's an incident occurring," Digital Fly CEO Derek Peterson said. "And we notify the officials." New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in July banned the use of e-cigarettes on all public and private school grounds. "If someone is inside the bathroom and they vape, it will contaminate the air, our sensor will pick it up and it will alert somebody in real time, 'Hey, there's a problem here, your air is contaminated, somebody could be vaping, somebody could be smoking, send somebody to check it out,'" Digital Fly software developer Billy Schweigert said. The device, called Fly Sense, can detect gas and moisture in the air indicating vaping is taking place. A spike in the data means something is suspicious. Fox5 New York

Teen Drug Overdose Rate In US Rose 20% In 2015 After Years Of Decline
The number of American teens to die of a drug overdose leapt by almost a fifth in 2015 after seven years of decline, a study by the National Center for Health Statistics has found. The jump in fatalities was driven by heroin and synthetic opioid use and by an increasing number of deaths among teenage girls. Deaths among teenagers represent a tiny portion of drug overdose deaths nationally – less than 2%. The report comes just as the Trump administration struggles to craft a plan to fight an opioid epidemic that claimed more than 52,000 lives in 2015. “We wanted to document that in this age group there had been a decline [in deaths],” said Sally Curtin, lead author of the study. “The trends were unique for this age group. But, once again, it did increase again between 2014 and 2015.” The Drudge Report

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