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NEWS   MONDAY, JANUARY 26, 2015   NEWS

TSA Seizes Record Number Of Guns From 2014 Air Travelers
Government screeners at airport security checkpoints seized a record number of guns in 2014. Air travelers caught trying to board a plane with a weapon included a 94-year-old man at New York’s LaGuardia Airport. The man had a loaded .38-caliber revolver clipped to his belt. The Los Angeles Times reported Friday on a new Transportation Security Administration study that found a significant increase in the number of firearms seized in carry-on bags at 224 airports. The TSA said it confiscated 2,212 firearms in 2014, compared to 1,813 in 2013. That’s a rise of 22 percent. Fox News
VOA VIEW: A very small number considering the 100's of thousands passengers per day.

Bob Dylan Has A 'Gift' For AARP Members: Free Copy Of His New Album
Attention, Bono: Here's an old-school way to give away a free album. Bob Dylan is sending seniors free copies of his latest album, tucking 50,000 copies into the next edition of "AARP The Magazine," according to the retirement group. It's likely to go over much better than U2's attempt at passing out free music. Last year, Bono's band gave every iTunes customer a free download of its "Songs of Innocence," but drew backlash because the download started automatically. Dylan's "Shadows in the Night" is a "gift" arriving by mail to recipients randomly selected from AARP's 35 million subscribers, the group said. CNN

Senior House Republican Says Housing Finance Reform 'Huge Priority'
A top U.S. Republican lawmaker will revisit a plan to reduce government involvement in the country's housing finance system, and expects Senate colleagues to be receptive to potential changes, according to an interview aired on C-SPAN on Sunday. Congressman Jeb Hensarling, who chairs the House Committee on Financial Services, said shepherding legislation to remove a government backstop for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be a "huge priority," adding that he is willing to compromise to get a bill passed. "We've got to get off that boom-bust-bailout cycle, and I fear that under government control, we are once again repeating the same mistakes of the past," he said. Reuters

Obama, India PM Modi Hug It Out On Nuclear Talks
Seizing on their personal bond, President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Sunday they had made progress on nuclear cooperation and climate change, with Obama declaring a "breakthrough understanding" in efforts to free U.S. investment in nuclear energy development in India. Obama and Modi expressed hope that a landmark 2008 nuclear agreement between the U.S. and India could begin to bear fruit. "We are committed to moving towards full implementation and this is an important step that shows how we can work together to elevate our relationship," Obama said. Earlier, India's recently-elected leader greeted Obama with a hug. MSNBC

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Is The White House Prepared For The Collapse Of Yemen?
White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said U.S. leaders "weren't surprised" by the collapse of the government in Yemen but argued that it will not hinder efforts to fight al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). "Important counter-terrorism efforts continue," McDonough said on CBS' "Face the Nation," Sunday. "There is no doubt about that and we will continue to press that. We will also continue to see that we have the intelligence we need to see threats as they manifest, that's the second point. The third point is we will continue to work on the political situation because we know that al Qaeda hides in these dark, tumultuous situations to ply their trade. We will continue to do that. And ultimately we are going to need partners in the region to help us clean those spaces out. The best way to do that is strong leadership and we will look, strong transparent leadership, and we will continue to look for that." CBS

National NAACP Leader Urges Pursuit Of Justice
The national leader of the NAACP says people should not be deterred from pursuing justice while possible hate crimes are being investigated, including an attempted bombing in Colorado Springs near the headquarters of the NAACP. Cornell William Brooks told hundreds of people in Colorado Springs on Saturday that they should continue to fight bigotry, voter disenfranchisement, income inequality and unfairness in the criminal injustice system. The Colorado Springs Gazette reports (http://tinyurl.com/phcarsf ) that Brooks is visiting Colorado Springs in response to the Jan. 6 attempted bombing of a building that houses the organization's offices and Mr. G's Hair Design Studios. Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: A little negative race stirring.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Thinks He Could 'Certainly' Win Iowa
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie thinks he could “certainly” win Iowa in 2016. Christie spoke exclusively with ABC News following his speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit, the first major event of the year to bring together a dozen potential presidential candidates in Iowa. Christie has made six trips to the Hawkeye State since 2014. “I don’t know why they keep inviting me back if I can’t win here,” Christie told ABC News. "I certainly think I could.” As he prepares for a possible 2016 run, Christie has already tapped political operatives in the state, including Phil Valenziano, who served as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s Iowa field director ahead of the 2012 caucuses. ABC

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Kerry Ties More Help Against Boko Haram To Election Peace
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Nigerian political rivals to ensure upcoming elections aren’t marred by violence, and said more U.S. support in the fight against Boko Haram militants hinged on a peaceful ballot. “We are prepared to do more but our ability to do more will depend to some degree on the full measure of credibility, accountability, transparency and peacefulness of this election,” he said at a press conference Sunday in Lagos, referring to the Feb. 14 poll. Kerry’s visit comes as Nigerian forces fought to repel an offensive waged earlier Sunday by the Islamist militants against Maiduguri, capital of the northeastern state of Borno, military spokesman Major-General Chris Olukolade said by phone Sunday from Abuja. Bloomberg

Republican White House Maybes Court Evangelicals Toward 2016
Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney are courting the Republican Party's elite donors in the early maneuvering for the 2016 presidential race. But several other potential Republican candidates are concentrating their efforts on Christian conservatives. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal hosted a prayer rally in his home state, where he called for a national spiritual revival. Dr. Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, spoke and attended services this weekend at a Houston megachurch conference billed as an effort to "restore the soul of America." Several White House hopefuls also addressed social conservatives at the Freedom Summit in Iowa, which hosts the nation's first caucuses in 2016. Las Vegas Sun

Millennials Like Cars More Than Social Media And Texting
A new study from MTV finds millennials like cars more than texting or social media, which contradicts what many previously thought. The study surveyed 3,610 millennials, 400 generation X people and 403 baby boomers. It found 80 percent of millennials prefer to get around by car, as opposed to other transportation methods.
It also found 75 percent of millennials would rather give up texting or social media for the day than give up their car. 72 percent said they would give up texting for a week rather than give up driving for that week. They found 8 percent get around by walking, another 8 percent use public transportation, 2 percent bike and 1 percent use car services. UPI

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Obama To Propose Protecting U.S. Arctic Wildlife Refuge From Drilling
U.S. President Barack Obama will propose expanding the protected area of Alaska's Arctic refuge by 12.28 million acres (4.97 million hectares), including the state's Coastal Plain where oil and gas are drilled, the Interior Department said on Sunday. The proposal to expand the part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge designated as wilderness faces an uphill battle in Congress, where Republicans in control of both chambers oppose curbs to oil production, and drew immediate criticism. The wilderness designation, the highest level of federal protection under which oil and gas drilling is banned, would be extended to 19.8 million acres under the proposal, the Interior Department said. Reuters

Disneyland Measles Outbreak: Why One Mom Recommends Vaccination
An  outbreak of measles traced to Disneyland has doctors reminding their patients to get vaccinated against measles—but it's also reignited defiance among people who question whether the move is necessary. Doctors are clear: the measles vaccine works especially well, it's safe, and everyone should get it. People who are not vaccinated are at high risk if they come into contact with people who have measles—it has a 90 percent transmission rate, and it can be deadly. And while measles is rare and unlikely to affect most Americans, it's important to protect the weakest and most vulnerable, doctors say: babies too young to have been vaccinated yet, and people who for various reason cannot be vaccinated. MSNBC

Extremist Assault On Major Nigerian City Leaves Hundreds Dead
In fierce fighting Sunday that killed more than 200 combatants, Nigerian troops clashed with Islamic extremists who attacked Maiduguri, the biggest city in northeastern Nigeria, from three fronts. At the same time the insurgents continued scorched-earth attacks on villages some 125 miles to the south in Adamawa state, slitting throats of residents, looting and burning homes and abducting dozens of trapped women and children, according to Vandu Kainu and other escaping survivors. Adamawa state legislator Adamu Kamale appealed for troops to protect civilians in Michika, where six villages are under attack. "The attacks have continued since Friday with no presence of security operatives," he complained. CBS

Police Shortage Is A Security Risk For Mardi Gras
Throughout the quieter parts of the French Quarter, residents and businesses have posted signs that read "Caution: Walk in Large Groups. We (heart) N.O.P.D. We Just Need More." It's an unsettling message about violent crime in the Big Easy for the 1 million revelers about to descend for Carnival season, which this year ends on Feb. 17, Fat Tuesday. The signs are an embarrassment for a city that likes to say how safe it makes Mardi Gras year in and year out, despite the debauchery. During Carnival, the streets crawl not only with partiers but with cops, state troopers, federal agents and private security officers. Despite their presence, shootings have occurred in nightclubs, on Bourbon Street, or along Carnival parade routes — many of which end at or near the Quarter — in at least eight of the past 11 years. At least 27 people were injured and one killed in those attacks. ABC

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Ukraine Clashes Widen As Obama Vows More Pressure On Russia
Fighting in Ukraine spread along the front line between government troops and pro-Russian rebels as President Barack Obama said the U.S. will keep increasing economic pressure on the Kremlin to stem the violence. The separatists are attacking along the entire front, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in Kiev on Sunday. He spoke at an emergency meeting of his security council, called after a rocket attack on the port city of Mariupol on Saturday. The projectiles were launched from rebel-held territory, the U.S., NATO, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said. The separatists blamed government forces. Bloomberg

Study Claims Pregnant Women Can Eat Fish Without Harming Their Baby
A new study finds women can safely eat fish while pregnant without much concern for mercury hurting their child. The researchers looked at 1,500 mothers over the course of three decades and found those with high levels of fish consumption, about 12 meals per week with fish, didn't have children with any developmental problems. "These findings show no overall association between prenatal exposure to mercury through fish consumption and neurodevelopmental outcomes," said Edwin van Wijngaarden, Ph.D., and associate professor in the University of Rochester Department of Public Health Sciences and a co-author of the study. "It is also becoming increasingly clear that the benefits of fish consumption may outweigh, or even mask, any potentially adverse effects of mercury." UPI

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Potential GOP 2016 Rivals Hammer ObamaCare
Conservative heavyweights joined with up-and-comers in hammering President Obama Saturday over everything from the health care law to his immigration policies as they played to a sold-out Iowa crowd in what amounted to the opening bell of the Republican presidential campaign. They spoke at the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, held in the first-in-the-nation caucus state at a time when big-name Republicans are getting close to announcing whether they’ll seek the presidency. While nobody at the summit has definitively declared a 2016 bid, nearly a dozen of the summit’s speakers are flirting with one. Testing their message on the conservative Iowa crowd, they took a hard line in their prescriptions for the country. Fox News

Netanyahu Visit Continues To Stir Emotion
White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough says the United States shouldn't wade into Israeli politics -- even if the country's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, plans to weigh in on American policies. His comments come days after House Speaker John Boehner announced that Netanyahu will address Congress in March, two weeks ahead of an Israeli election -- a move that caught President Barack Obama's administration by surprise. Netanyahu is expected to lobby Congress to approve tough new sanctions on Iran. Obama has opposed those sanctions, saying he needs more time to hash out a deal to end Iran's nuclear program and that new sanctions would put those talks at risk. CNN
VOA VIEW: Obama is a whiner.

Millions Of Genetically Modified Mosquitos Could Be Set Loose In Florida Keys
Millions of genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in the Florida Keys if British researchers win approval to use the bugs against two extremely painful viral diseases. Never before have insects with modified DNA come so close to being set loose in a residential U.S. neighborhood. "This is essentially using a mosquito as a drug to cure disease," said Michael Doyle, executive director of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, which is waiting to hear if the Food and Drug Administration will allow the experiment. CNS News

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Scheduling, Not Netanyahu, Prohibits Obama-Rivlin Meeting
US President Barack Obama could not meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin during his visit to New York this week due to scheduling conflicts, the White House said on Sunday. The Obama administration attempted to coordinate the meeting throughout "recent weeks," suggesting the effort began well before House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) surprised the White House by inviting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress. “In recent weeks, there were contacts between relevant officials in Israel and the US, following a December request from President Rivlin, about the possibility of a meeting between President Obama and President Rivlin during his visit to New York for International Holocaust Remembrance Day at the UN," National Security Council spokesperson Alistair Baskey told the Post in an e-mail. "Due to scheduling conflicts a meeting during this visit will not be possible." Jerusalem Post

Hezbollah In First Response Since Syria Strike: Zionists Will Fail In Attempts To Set New Rules
An alleged Israeli attack which killed several prominent members of Lebanon's Hezbollah last week was an attempt by Israel to set "new rules" in the conflict between the two foes, Hezbollah's deputy leader said at a gathering to commemorate those who died. Sheik Naim Qassem's comments were the first reaction from the group's leadership to the missile attack in the Syrian province of Quneitra near the Israeli border. Among those killed was an Iranian officer and the son of Hezbollah's late military chief. Israel has reportedly struck Hezbollah in Syria several times since the conflict there began, hitting weapons deliveries, but the group did not acknowledge these attacks.  Jerusalem Post

Libya's Ansar Confirms Chief's Death
Libyan Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia has confirmed that its leader Mohammad al-Zahawi has died. In a statement, the group said "we mourn the death of the emir", without giving further details. His death is thought to have resulted from wounds sustained in a battle with Libyan government troops in the eastern city of Benghazi last October. The group is blamed for the 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, in which the US ambassador was killed. Three other Americans also died. BBC

Ebola Crisis: 'Too Slow' WHO Promises Reforms
The World Health Organization (WHO) has set out plans for reform, admitting that it was too slow to respond to the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa. At an emergency session in Geneva, director-general Margaret Chan said Ebola had taught the world and the WHO how they must act in the future. She said the corner had been turned on infections but warned over complacency. More than 8,500 people have died in the outbreak, the vast majority in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. Dr Chan said: "This was West Africa's first experience with the virus and it delivered some horrific shocks and surprises. BBC

Jewish Leaders Call For Europe-Wide Legislation Outlawing Antisemitism
European Jewish leaders, backed by a host of former EU heads of state and government, are to call for pan-European legislation outlawing antisemitism amid a sense of siege and emergency feeding talk of a mass exodus of Europe’s oldest ethnic minority. A panel of four prestigious international experts on constitutional law backed by the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR) have spent three years consulting widely and drafting a 12-page document on “tolerance”. They are lobbying to have it converted into law in the 28 countries of the EU. The proposal would outlaw antisemitism as well as criminalising a host of other activities deemed to be violating fundamental rights on specious religious, cultural, ethnic and gender grounds. Guardian

Russia Blames Kiev For Ukraine Violence After Mariupol Attack
Russia has blamed Kiev authorities for the escalating violence in eastern Ukraine that has left dozens dead in recent days, despite mounting evidence that a missile attack on a residential suburb of Mariupol on Saturday in which 30 died was carried out by Russia-backed militants. Casualty numbers and bellicose rhetoric have increased on both sides in recent days. After a mortar attack on a trolley bus stop killed at least eight in the rebel capital, Donetsk, on Thursday, the Donetsk leader Alexander Zakharchenko said there would be no more ceasefires and promised a rebel advance to take swaths of territory currently held by Kiev. Guardian

UN Refugees Envoy Angelina Jolie Says International Community 'Failing' Iraq's Displaced
The rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Iraq is a “shocking” reality that demands the international community's immediate attention, Oscar-winning actress and United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) Special Envoy, Angelina Jolie, urged today as she visited Syrian refugees and displaced Iraqi citizens in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. “Since I was last here in Iraq, another 2 million people have been forced from their homes, mostly in the last six months – this time Iraqi citizens,” Ms. Jolie said at a press conference held at the Khanke Camp for Internally Displaced People (IDPs), in Iraq's Dohuk Governorate. UN News

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