NEWS   WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2017   NEWS

Trump Nominates Neil Gorsuch To The Supreme Court
President Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch, a fast-rising conservative judge with a writer’s flair, to the Supreme Court on Tuesday, a selection expected to spark a fierce fight with Democrats over a jurist who could shape America’s legal landscape for decades to come. At 49, Gorsuch is the youngest Supreme Court nominee in a quarter century. He’s distinguished himself on the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals with his clear, colloquial writing, advocacy for court review of government regulations, defense of religious freedom and skepticism toward law enforcement. “Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline and has earned bipartisan support,” Trump said, announcing the nomination in his first televised address from the White House. NY Post
VOA VIEW: Great!

Trump Hammers Democrats For Delaying Attorney General Confirmation
Hours after he sacked the acting attorney general for refusing to defend his immigration order, President Trump took to Twitter to hammer Senate Democrats for slow-walking the confirmation process of his nominee to head the Justice Department. The Senate Judiciary Committee was set to meet Tuesday morning regarding Sen. Jeff Sessions’ nomination to be attorney general. But Sessions' initial hearing was all the way back on Jan. 10, and only a handful of Trump’s Cabinet picks have been voted on, a dozen days into his presidency. “When will the Democrats give us our Attorney General and rest of Cabinet! They should be ashamed of themselves! No wonder D.C. doesn’t work!” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. Fox News

Ryan Calls Immigration Order Rollout 'Regrettable,' Defends Trump
House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday that the “confusion” surrounding the rollout of President Trump’s immigration executive order was “regrettable,” though he defended the national security goals of the sweeping measure signed late last week. At a press briefing, Ryan said nobody wanted to see green-card holders and others “caught up” in the implementation of Trump’s Friday order, which suspended the U.S. refugee program and restricted immigration and travel from seven mostly Muslim countries. But some travelers, including green-card holders, were held up amid conflicting statements over the weekend about whom the order affected. “It’s regrettable on the confusion of the rollout of this,” Ryan said. Fox News
VOA VIEW: No big deal.

The Real Estate Mogul's Architect: Bannon's Influence Swells
To outsiders looking in, President Donald Trump's decision to give his chief strategist Steve Bannon a permanent seat with the National Security Council's most senior officials marked the startling elevation of a political adviser to a policy-making role. But for Trump administration insiders, Bannon's appointment was little more than a natural evolution of his status as one of the President's most trusted and influential advisers. That's because Bannon's role has long eclipsed that of traditional political strategist, with the former head of the right-wing Breitbart News site quickly taking custody of Trump's political and policy agendas not just as tactician, but as one of its chief architects. That role will now officially extend to crafting the Trump foreign policy, placing a firebrand who has repeatedly targeted the Republican establishment and called for a radical reshaping of the US' role in the world in a prime position to reshape the current world order -- not just for the term of Trump's presidency, but for decades to come. CNN

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DHS Secretary: ‘This Is Not A Travel Ban – This Is A Temporary Pause’
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s executive order stopping immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days, is “a temporary pause” so that officials can review the refugee and visa vetting system – it is “not a travel ban.” “I’d like to clarify that the most recent executive order does—what it does and does not mean. This is not a travel ban. This is a temporary pause that allows us to better review the existing refugee and visa vetting system,” Kelly said. CNS News

Sen. Kaine: Dems Must Fight, Fight, Fight -- In Congress, Courts, Streets, Online, At Ballot Box
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Hillary Clinton's former running mate, says Democrats "are so excited that the American public is energized to speak out against the abuses of this administration," and he believes it will work to their advantage. He pointed to recent rallies in support of health care, in support of women, and against President Trump's executive orders on immigration, saying Democrats must "take advantage" of the "tremendous public outcry." "What we've got to do is fight in Congress, fight in the courts, fight in the streets, fight online, fight at the ballot box; and now there's the momentum to be able to do this," Kaine told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Tuesday. CNS News
VOA VIEW: Fight and lose.

LGBT Advocates Scared, Despite White House Words On Equality
Advocates said on Tuesday they were bracing for moves by U.S. President Donald Trump's administration to roll back lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, despite a White House statement vowing to uphold protection for LGBT people in the workplace.Trump will continue to enforce a 2014 executive order by his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, barring discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people working for federal contractors, the White House said. The statement marked a break with the Republican party's traditional stance on gay rights, but advocates said they feared Trump could still take executive actions that would allow discrimination under the guise of religious exemptions. Reuters

1,700 Residents Of Flint, Michigan Sue EPA Over Water Crisis
More than 1,700 residents of Flint, Michigan who say the Environmental Protection Agency mismanaged the water crisis that exposed thousands of children to lead poisoning have sued the U.S. government, seeking class action status for their claims. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Michigan on Monday, asserted that the EPA failed to warn them of the dangers of the toxic water or take steps to ensure that state and local authorities were addressing the crisis. The plaintiffs seek $722 million in damages. "This case involves a major failure on all levels of government to protect the health and safety of the public," the 30-page lawsuit claims. "Local, state and federal agencies and employees, working individually and at times in concert with each other, mismanaged this environmental catastrophe." Reuters

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Queen Put In ‘Very Difficult Position’ With Trump State Visit
The planned state visit of President Donald Trump to the United Kingdom later this year could put 90-year-old Queen Elizabeth in a "very difficult position," according to people in royal circles. In a letter to the Times of London, Lord Ricketts, who was the permanent secretary at the Foreign Office (the British equivalent of the State Department) from 2006 to 2010, questioned whether Trump is "specially deserving of this exceptional honor?" MSNBC

Attorney General Nominee Jeff Sessions Faces Senate Committee Vote Amid DOJ Turmoil
A Senate panel hearing Tuesday to vote on Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general was as much a fiery rebuke by Democrats of his nomination as it was of President Donald Trump's immigration-related executive order. Top-ranking Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee began the hearing pushing back at Sessions' record — on civil rights, women's health care and his hard-line immigration stance — while questioning whether he can be nonpartisan while enforcing the nation's laws independent from what the White House would want. Sessions, who was not in attendance at the hearing, was the first senator to endorse Trump's candidacy for president. MSNBC

Medals For 2020 Tokyo Olympics To Be Made Of Recycled Metal
Organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics say metal from discarded electronic devices will be used in the production of the medals that will be awarded to athletes. Japanese citizens are being asked to give the organizing committee unwanted devices. Organizers say the program highlights the theme of sustainability and gives the whole nation a chance to participate in the preparations for the games. The organizing committee aims to collect as much as eight tons of metal which, after the production process, will result in two tons, an amount needed to produce 5,000 Olympic and Paralympic medals. Philadelphia Inquirer

VW To Pay $1.2 Billion Or More To US Owners Of Big Diesels
Volkswagen has agreed to pay at least $1.2 billion in buybacks and compensation to settle claims from U.S. owners of cars with larger diesel engines that the company rigged to cheat on emissions tests. And the German automaker could pay even more — as much as $4 billion — if it can't repair many of the cars in a way that satisfies regulators. The proposed settlement filed late Tuesday before Judge Charles R. Breyer in U.S. District Court in San Francisco covers owners of some 78,000 Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche cars with 3.0-liter diesel engines. Volkswagen has already agreed on a $15 billion settlement for some 500,000 smaller, 2.0-liter diesel engines. Tampa Tribune

Trump Refugee Mess Previews Failures Ahead
President Trump’s executive order suspending most travel from Syria and seven other predominantly Muslim countries has now encountered mass protests, slap-downs from federal judges and resistance from an acting attorney general that he had to fire, turning her into a martyr for civil rights. The new president's showy signing ceremony and his tweets defending the travel ban may temporarily convince many supporters that he followed through on his promises. But this policy will almost certainly not last the year — if it lasts at all. And if he's smart, this way of running the government won't last long either. The refugees ban is a textbook example of how not to make policy. Its genesis exacerbated tension between him and congressional Republicans. It emboldened a visible and attention-getting opposition. It alienated his own Cabinet secretaries. Now he’s staring down the first defeat of his short presidency, and it isn’t because American values triumphed or because protesters forced him to back down. USA Today
VOA VIEW:  Time will tell - USA Today is very liberal.

Donald Trump Cites DNC Hack In Launch Of Cybersecurity Efforts
President Trump said Tuesday the hacking of the Democratic National Committee stands out as a “good example” of the need for effective cyber security measures throughout private industry and the federal government. “The Democratic National Committee was hacked successfully, very successfully, and terribly successfully,” Mr. Trump told reporters during a White House meeting with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has been tapped by the president as an informal adviser on cybersecurity. Mr. Trump had been expected to sign an executive order to review and beef up the government’s cyber security efforts, but the White House canceled the signing without explanation. The meeting with Mr. Giuliani was billed as a “listening session.” Washington Times

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Robert Kraft Praises Trump’s Loyalty: ‘He Called Me Once A Week’ For A Year After Wife Died
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was asked Sunday to defend his relationship with President Trump: He explained the Republican was a loyal friend and offered support during one of the darkest times in his life. Mr. Kraft, a lifelong Democrat and major Barack Obama donor, told the New York Daily News that his friendship with Mr. Trump well predates the business mogul’s White House run. The new president demonstrated his loyalty back in 2011 when Mr. Kraft’s wife Myra died from cancer. Washington Times

Hundreds Of Refugees To Enter U.S. Despite Trump's Ban, Border Patrol Chief Says
Nearly 900 refugees will be allowed into the United States this week despite President Donald Trump’s order suspending the U.S. refugees program, a senior U.S. official said Tuesday. Kevin McAleenan, acting commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, said 872 refugees would be granted waivers, which he said was allowed for under the order in instances where refugees were ready for travel and stopping them would cause “undue hardship.” He was speaking at a news conference about the administration’s new immigration restrictions, which also suspend entry by citizens of seven predominantly Muslim nations. CBS

NJ Supreme Court Rejects Christie Request To Break Teacher Union Rules
Gov. Christie had sought to override teacher tenure laws and collectively negotiated agreements in the former Abbott districts if the state determines those rules impede the delivery of a “thorough and efficient” education. The New Jersey Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an attempt by Gov. Christie to reopen the landmark Abbott v. Burke case that directed resources to urban school districts, denying his administration the power to freeze funding and break union contracts. Christie had sought to override teacher tenure laws and collectively negotiated agreements in the former Abbott districts if the state determines those rules impede the delivery of a “thorough and efficient” education — as promised by the New Jersey Constitution. Philadelphia Inquirer

Democrats Delay Jeff Sessions’ AG Confirmation With This Trick
Senate Democrats delayed a vote on Sen. Jeff Sessions for Attorney General using a procedural trick during a Judiciary Committee hearing. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer initiated the slowdown from the Senate floor by invoking what’s known as the “2-hour rule” that bars Senate committee meetings from running past 2 pm. Democratic members of the committee delivered lengthy speeches against Sessions and President Trump’s executive order restricting entry into the US from selected countries soon after the hearing began at 9:30 a.m. One speech by Sen. Mazie Hirona (D-Hawaii) dragged on for 23 minutes, in part, because she recited a speech by former President Reagan. Schumer announced his intentions on Twitter—mid hearing – at 1:21 pm: “The American people need answers on exec orders from Sen. Sessions. Jud Cmte shouldn’t proceed until we get them so I’ll invoke the 2hr rule.” NY Post
VOA VIEW: Democrats will get their wish - nuclear option.

Women Are, Very Slowly, Getting More Seats In The Boardroom
The number of women sitting at the table in corporate boardrooms across the country is rising very slowly, but it's rising. Just over 15 percent of all director seats at publicly traded U.S. companies were held by women as of Dec. 31, according to a study by Equilar, a corporate research firm. That's up from 14 percent a year earlier and from 12 percent in 2013. So, the trend is toward more equal representation on boards, but parity won't happen until the end of 2055 unless the pace picks up, according to Equilar. That's nearly 40 years away, which may be about when girls born today begin sitting on corporate boards. Tampa Tribune

Allies Warn Trump's Travel Ban Will Be "Lifeline" For ISIS
American diplomats in four majority-Muslim nations have sent cables this week to the State Department warning that U.S. allies fear jihadists will use President Trump’s temporary travel ban on people from seven nations, and all refugees, as a propaganda tool, and that Western installations in the Middle East could face retaliation. The cables, seen Monday by CBS News, came over the course of just 24 hours from diplomats in Qatar, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia. Of those nations, only Sudan is among the seven from which travelers are now barred entry to the United States under President Trump’s executive order. All four are political allies and partners with the U.S. on security matters. CBS

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Jenna Bush Hager Uses Dad's Post-9/11 Words Over Trump Order
Former first daughter Jenna Bush Hager is registering her opinion on Republican President Donald Trump's order temporarily suspending immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations with the words of her father, former President George W. Bush. Bush Hager posted an excerpt on Twitter Tuesday from a 2001 speech her father, a fellow Republican, gave at the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C. following the 9/11 attacks. Her father said, "Islam is peace" in his remarks. He added that Muslims "make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country" and called for them to be "treated with respect." Bush Hager said in her tweet that the speech is a reminder "to teach acceptance and love to our kids for all races, all religions."Bush Hager is now a correspondent for NBC News. Houston Chronicle

IS Using Drones, Other Innovating Tactics With Deadly Effect
First the tiny drones buzz overhead to observe Iraqi soldiers. Then, the Islamic State group's flying machines return to drop a small explosive device to sow panic among security forces — or deadlier still, to help guide a suicide car bomber to a target. And the innovations are expected to keep coming since IS has been spending freely on technology, even as their fighters face intense pressure from coalition forces, according to Iraqi military officials. The extremist group is hacking store-bought drones, using rigorous testing protocols and innovating tactics that mimic those used by U.S. unmanned aircraft to adapt to diminishing numbers of fighters and a battlefield that is increasingly difficult to navigate on the ground. The Associated Press visited a warehouse this week in the Shura neighborhood, the largest drone workshop uncovered so far, and saw accounting spreadsheets with purchases totaling thousands of dollars a month for drone equipment. Houston Chronicle

Ku Klux Klan Looking To Recruit Supporters In The Charlotte Area
The Ku Klux Klan is apparently recruiting members in the area, specifically in Gaston County. Neighborhoods in Cherryville and Dallas reported finding fliers from the white supremacist group delivered to driveways over the weekend, reports the Shelby Star. The leaflets were stuffed inside plastic bags, weighed down by rice to keep them from blowing away. Each featured a drawing of a hooded man, with his arm outstretched and his finger pointing outward, the Star reported. A phone number was on the leaflets, along with a message stating that "The KKK wants you," it was reported. Gaston County Police Capt. Curt Rosselle told the Shelby Star that said the papers likely represented more of a recruitment effort than they did a threat. Charlotte Observer

In Rare Move, Trump Cancels Wisconsin Trip Amid Concerns About Protests
President Donald Trump has canceled a scheduled trip to Wisconsin out of concern that his presence would be the target of protesters angered by his immigration order barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. The cancellation, in just the second week of Trump’s tenure, underscored the torrent of opposition that has greeted his presidency, starting with a gathering of hundreds of thousands in Washington on the day after his inauguration and two days of demonstrations across the country this past weekend against his travel ban. Presidents have canceled trips for weather and after tragic events, but a cancellation for fear of protests is rare, if not unprecedented. Brookings Institution senior fellow William Galston said he could not recall a similar cancellation dating back to Ronald Reagan and possibly longer ago. “I remember all the protests, and I’m not sure there has been an incident” that caused a cancellation, Galston said. Charlotte Observer

San Diego Legalizes Recreational Pot Dispensaries
San Diego legalized recreational pot dispensaries on Tuesday and the city also opened up the possibility it will allow pot farms, manufacturing facilities and testing labs. San Diego is the first local city to approve recreational marijuana sales since state voters approved Proposition 64 in November, and no other cities in the county have indicated they intend to follow suit. Sales of recreational pot will begin when statewide regulations being crafted in Sacramento are completed sometime before next January. Dispensaries along the coast may have to wait for Coastal Commission approval, but city officials said that’s expected by October. The San Diego City Council unanimously agreed on Tuesday to allow the sale of recreational marijuana at 15 dispensaries approved by the city to sell medical marijuana, pending the state action, and any additional dispensaries the city approves in the future. Kansas City Star

A Red Vs. Blue Divide: Trump’s More Rural States Have Higher Traffic Death Rates
November’s presidential contest was bizarre in many ways, but there is one peculiarity that pundits haven’t pounced on: The states with the worst rates of traffic deaths in the country went solidly for Donald Trump while Hillary Clinton swept states with the lowest fatality rates. That odd association between traffic deaths and how states voted echoes what happened just over four years ago, when this red-blue divide first came to light. As the news organization FairWarning reported in 2012, low fatality states voted blue to re-elect Barack Obama, while states with higher death rates went red for GOP challenger Mitt Romney. The recent November presidential voting reshuffled the deck somewhat. Six states that were Obama blue in 2012 turned red in 2016, delivering a victory to the GOP’s Trump. Yet the correlation between traffic death rates and presidential voting actually appears slightly stronger. Kansas City Star

President Trump Heads To His ‘Winter White House’ In Florida This Weekend
“On Friday, the president will depart from this White House to the winter White House down at Mar-a-Lago where he'll spend the weekend and be holding meetings,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters. Trump's visits have created expensive headaches and transportation challenges for local government. The county asked members of Congress to help it get $7 million in federal funds and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office estimated Trump’s Thanksgiving visit to the island cost about $248,000 in overtime. Earlier this month, the Palm Beach Town Council gave Trump permission to take off and land at Mar-a-Lago via helicopter during his “term(s) in office,” to alleviate motorcade traffic. Miami Herald

Lawmakers Want Answers After Intruder Breaches GOP's Inner Sanctum
For hours, the intruder strolled around what should have been one of the most tightly secured buildings in the country. Inside the Loews Hotel in downtown Philadelphia at various points Thursday were President Trump, Vice President Pence, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and scores of other Republican members of Congress. Reporters were kept out, and only a few select staff, family members and outsiders were allowed to participate in the private GOP policy retreat. But at least one unauthorized person made it inside, and while it is unclear to what degree the country's top leaders were in physical danger, their circle of trust was undoubtedly breached. A person secretly recorded closed sessions on national security and health care attended by many dozens of GOP lawmakers who had gathered for a private discussion of some of the thorniest legislative issues of the moment, as well as a question-and-answer session with Pence. SF Gate

McCain Emerges As Trump's Top Republican Nemesis In Congress
Sen. John McCain has emerged as President Donald Trump's top Republican nemesis on Capitol Hill. Since Trump's inauguration, McCain has broken with the president on his immigration order, warned him against any rapprochement with Moscow, lectured him on the illegality of torture, and supplied only a tepid endorsement of Rex Tillerson, Trump's secretary of state nominee. Oh, and McCain also hammered Trump for backing away from — instead of embracing — international free trade agreements. As Trump presses ahead with an ambitious and contentious agenda at home and abroad, McCain is pushing back, using his seniority in Congress and his characteristic bluntness. McCain, 80, cruised to a sixth Senate term in November, defeating a Democratic challenger who hounded the senator for standing by Trump even after the billionaire businessman insulted him as a "loser." ABC
VOA VIEW: McCain has been a marginal conservative and a good reason he lost the presidency.

US Commandos Targeting ISIS In Countries On Obama And Trump Hit List
The seven countries affected by President Donald Trump's new travel ban are among at least 11 countries where a clandestine U.S. special operations task force is hunting ISIS operatives who could hatch terrorist plots or make their way to the United States as they flee the "caliphate" in Syria and Iraq, counterterrorism officials tell ABC News. The Counter-External Operations Task Force, or Ex-Ops, was devised by the Obama administration last fall, when then–Defense Secretary Ash Carter quietly announced that he had put America's most covert black ops troops in charge of tracking ISIS fighters moving beyond the boundaries of established war zones in Southwest Asia. ABC

Gold Gains As Trump Shocks Markets By Doing What He Said He’d Do
President Donald Trump’s policies have brought gold back to life. Gold futures rose for a second day, posting the biggest monthly gain since June, on investor concern over moves by Trump that included barring entry by citizens from seven predominantly Muslim nations and firing the acting U.S. attorney general for refusing to enforce the order. The dollar headed for a third straight decline against a basket of 10 currencies, and U.S. stocks slid. Confusion over U.S trade and immigration policies has helped rekindle haven demand for gold, which in December capped its biggest quarterly decline in more than three years. Money is also flowing back to precious metals as speculation mounts that the Federal Reserve may be more cautious in raising U.S. interest rates amid concerns Trump’s policies could stifle economic growth. Protests from New York to Atlanta to Detroit were held Sunday. Bloomberg

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Trump Must Choose Between Farmers And ‘Big Meat’
In November, farmers voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump. Now they’re waiting to see if it pays off. Among the final actions of the Obama administration were new rules making it easier for chicken farmers—who exist inside a commercial vise constructed by agribusiness—to sue the companies for anti-competitive behavior. The big meat lobbying firms oppose any new rules, and now that the Trump administration has frozen all regulations, it’s unclear if those protections will ever take effect. Bloomberg

Democrats Decry Trump Threat To Fire Inspectors General
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee asked the White House Tuesday for information about reports that President Donald Trump's transition team threatened to remove a host of inspectors general from their posts. Democrats Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Gerald Connolly of Virginia said Trump officials apparently contacted as many as eight inspectors general earlier this month to inform them their positions were "temporary" and they should begin looking for other employment. The threats appear to have been withdrawn amid complaints from lawmakers and the inspectors general, "but there is no official communication confirming that this occurred," the Democrats said. Cummings is the top Democrat on the oversight panel, while Connolly is the second-ranking Democrat. Las Vegas Sun

Trump Makes His Pick, But It’s Still Anthony Kennedy’s Supreme Court
President Trump has chosen his first nominee, but it remains Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s Supreme Court. The question is how much longer he wants it. Kennedy, 80 and celebrating his 29th year on the court this month, will remain the pivotal member of the court no matter how the warfare between Republicans and Democrats plays out. On almost every big social issue, neither the court’s liberal, Democratic-appointed justices nor Kennedy’s fellow ­Republican-appointed conservative colleagues can prevail without him. That is why an undercurrent of Trump’s first choice for the court was whether it would soothe Kennedy, making him feel secure enough to retire and let this president choose the person who would succeed him. Washington Post
VOA VIEW: Sad, but true.

WH spokesman: Trump called immigration action a ‘ban’ because the media used that word
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said during a Tuesday briefing with reporters that President Donald Trump is only using the word “ban” to describe his executive action on immigration and refugees because the media is using the word. “He’s using the words that the media is using,” Spicer said. Later, during a back-and-forth with reporters, he said: “It can’t be a ban if you’re letting a million people in. If 325,000 people from another country can come in, that is by nature not a ban. It is extreme vetting.” Boston Globe

CNN Producer Detained In Atlanta Files Lawsuit Against Immigration Order
An Atlanta news producer and Iraqi national filed a federal lawsuit challenging an executive order. A CNN editor and producer who was detained Sunday at Atlanta's airport has filed a federal lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's immigration order. Mohammed Tawfeeq is an Iraqi national who has been a permanent legal resident of the United States since 2013. As an editor, Tawfeeq frequently travels to the Middle East as part of his reporting duties, the lawsuit states. Tawfeeq was detained Sunday at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, where he was subjected to additional screening that delayed his entry into the United States. Atanta Journal
VOA VIEW: Big deal - good luck.

Austrian Government Calls For Ban Of Full-Face Veils
Austria's coalition government proposed a prohibition of full-face veils worn in public on Tuesday. The move is seen as largely symbolic since an estimated 150 women in Austria wear the niqab, which exposes only the eyes, or the burqa, which covers the face entirely. The order, which took two lines of a 35-page report by the Social Democratic and Austrian People's parties on their vision for the country's future, is mean to contain the rise of the far-right Freedom Party, CNN reported. The document calls for an "open society that requires open communication." "Full-face veils in public places are the opposite of that and will be banned," it said, adding the policy change is meant so that the state "presents itself in a world-open and religiously neutral manner." The ban requires the approval of the Austrian Parliament before it can be enforced. Tarafa Beghajati of the Austrian Muslim Initiative called an outright ban on the veils to be "counterproductive." UPI

Police Arrest Dozens Of 'Obamacare' Supporters At U.S. Capitol Protest
U.S. Capitol police on Tuesday arrested dozens of demonstrators, who are opposed to the removal of the Affordable Care Act, during a protest at the office of a top Senate committee leader. The demonstrators had gathered at the Hart Senate Office Building for a sit-in protest outside the office of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who is responsible for any changes to former President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law. The protest was led by Save My Care, which is organized by the Service Employees International Union. UPI

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FIRST ISRAELI-TURKISH DIPLOMATIC TALKS IN YEARS KICK OFF IN ANKARA
Foreign Ministry director-general Yuval Rotem flew to Ankara on Tuesday for the first high-level political consultations between the two countries in six years. The discussions, made possible as the result of the reconciliation agreement that culminated in December with an exchange of ambassadors, will survey all the issues between the two countries – economic, cultural and security – with an eye at charting a course for moving forward. Jerusalem Post

ISRAEL URGES TRUMP, UN TO ACT AGAINST IRAN AFTER BALLISTIC MISSILE TEST
Israel is urging the world to take action after a US official said Monday that Iran carried out a test launch of a medium-range ballistic missile over the weekend, seemingly in violation of UN Resolution 2231, which forbids the Islamic Republic from carrying out such tests for a period of eights years. The United Nations Security Council was scheduled to hold an emergency meeting on the test at the request of the United States. The US request came after Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon called for the meeting, saying of the test, "This aggression is not only directed toward Israel, it is directed toward the entire Western world." Jerusalem Post

Yemen Conflict: Rebels In Deadly Attack On Saudi Warship
The Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen's Houthi rebels says two crew members have been killed in an attack on one of its warships in the Red Sea. A coalition statement said three Houthi "suicide boats" had approached a Saudi frigate west of Hudaydah on Monday. One of the boats collided with the rear of the frigate and exploded, causing a fire, the statement added. However, a rebel-controlled news agency cited a source as saying the warship had been hit by a guided missile. BBC

US Halts Internet 'Six Strikes' Anti-Piracy Scheme
The Copyright Alert System (Cas), notified internet subscribers whose accounts had been used to download copyrighted content for free. Copyright holders hailed the scheme a success, despite its closure. But critics said there was no evidence to show that the system had brought down piracy levels. Content bodies, such as the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America ) and the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) have long lobbied for greater punishments for content-stealing and finally agreed the "six strikes" plan with several of the US's large internet service providers in 2013. BBC

Trump Order May Give Pentagon Bigger Role In Civilian Cybersecurity
The Department of Homeland Security fears losing its primacy in civilian cybersecurity through an impending White House executive order, according to current and former officials, raising concerns about digital security in the Donald Trump era becoming a stalking horse for surveillance. Trump had been expected on Tuesday afternoon to issue an executive order on cybersecurity, a long-forecast first venture into a subject central to rising public, security and international anxieties after mass hacks of big companies and the US government itself. But the White House abruptly told pool reporters that the signing was cancelled without explanation. Guardian

Republicans Move To Sell Off 3.3m Acres Of National Land, Sparking Rallies
Now that Republicans have quietly drawn a path to give away much of Americans’ public land, US representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah has introduced what the Wilderness Society is calling “step two” in the GOP’s plan to offload federal property. The new piece of legislation would direct the interior secretary to immediately sell off an area of public land the size of Connecticut. In a press release for House Bill 621, Chaffetz, a Tea Party Republican, claimed that the 3.3m acres of national land, maintained by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), served “no purpose for taxpayers”. Guardian

Arnold Schwarzenegger On Trump's Travel Ban: 'It's Crazy And Makes Us Look Stupid
Arnold Schwarzenegger has criticised President Donald Trump's controversial executive order barring people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US, and halting the nation's refugee programme. Appearing on entertainment news show Extra, Mr Schwarzenegger told host Mario Lopez he believed the travel ban was poorly executed: "I think the real problem is that it was vetted badly," he said. "If they would run this by the Justice Department and Homeland Security and had the lawyers really study and focus on it and give it some time to do it the right way. "I know what he's trying to accomplish — his fear about people coming in from other places, causing harm to the country. There is another way to going about it to do it the right way and accomplish all of the goals. I think they were hasty with it.” Telegraph
VOA VIEW: Arnold is the ultimate loser.

Managing National Borders ‘Cannot Be Based On Any Form Of Discrimination’
Refugees fleeing conflict and persecution are entitled to protection, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said today, expressing concern at decisions around the world that have undermined the integrity of the international refugee protection regime. “Refugees fleeing conflict and persecution are finding more and more borders closed and increasingly restricted access to the protection they need and are entitled to receive, according to international refugee law,” Mr. Guterres said in a statement. UN News

UNICEF Launches $3.3 Billion Appeal To Assist Millions Of Children Affected By Conflict, Disasters
Against the backdrop of ever increasing number of children driven from their homes due to conflict, disasters and climate change, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) today launched a $3.3 billion appeal to provide emergency assistance in 48 countries around the globe. “From Syria to Yemen and Iraq, from South Sudan to Nigeria, children are under direct attack, their homes, schools and communities in ruins, their hopes and futures hanging in the balance,” noted the UN agency in a news release today. “In total, almost one in four of the world's children lives in a country affected by conflict or disaster,” it added. UN News

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