Trump Makes Unannounced Visit To Dover AFB For Return Of Service Member's Remains
President Donald Trump made an unannounced visit Wednesday to Dover Air Force Base for the return of the remains of the US service member killed in the raid in Yemen. Trump went to Dover AFB on Marine One, along with his daughter, Ivanka, and Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware. Chief Petty Officer William "Ryan" Owens, a Navy SEAL, died of wounds suffered during a raid Sunday in Yemen against al Qaeda, according to US Central Command. Sources in Yemen told CNN that three senior al Qaeda leaders were among those killed. That was later confirmed by a US official. CNN
VOA VIEW: A very touching response.

Report Finds Chemicals In One-Third Of Fast Food Packaging
Most of the time, when you order fast food, you know exactly what you're getting: an inexpensive meal that tastes great but is probably loaded with fat, cholesterol and sodium. But it turns out that the packaging your food comes in could also have a negative impact on your health, according to a report published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters. The report found fluorinated chemicals in one-third of the fast food packaging researchers tested. These chemicals are favored for their grease-repellent properties. CNN

Hoyer On Executive Order That Names No Religion: It’s A ‘Religious Test'
At his weekly Capitol Hill press briefing on Tuesday, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that he believes the temporary halt ordered by President Donald Trump of immigrants from seven countries that are havens for terrorists is a “religious test” and “unconstitutional,” even though the executive order does not mention a specific religion and states that all religious minorities that are facing persecution should be “prioritized” for refugee status. In his remarks to reporters, Hoyer called the executive order “a Muslim ban” and distributed to reporters the transcript from the remarks he made on the House floor ahead of the briefing, where he said, “[The executive order] bans refugees and is, for all intents and purposes, a ban on Muslims entering our country. CNS News
VOA VIEW: Hoyer needs to get a life.

WH: No Word Yet On When Sanctuary Cities Will Have Federal Funding Cut
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said there’s no word yet on when the Trump administration will publish a list of municipalities that are considered sanctuary cities or when such cities should expect to see their federal funding cut. “As we continue to implement this executive order and fulfill the pledge that he made, we’ll have further updates on how we intend—how that list will come out and when it will come out,” Spicer said. CNS News


Trump To Take 'Proactive' Approach In Chicago, Not Just Lock People Up
Donald Trump will take a "proactive" approach to dealing with violence in Chicago that does not involve simply locking people up, Cleveland-based pastor Darrell Scott said after meeting with the U.S. president on Wednesday. Scott, a prominent African-American Trump supporter during the presidential campaign, attended a listening session at the White House that also included other black Trump supporters and officials to celebrate the start of Black History Month and to discuss issues affecting the black community. Trump has pledged to improve the lives of black residents of inner cities and to crack down on crime and violence in urban areas, especially in Chicago, where murders have spiked. Last month, Trump threatened to "send in the Feds" if Chicago does not get its murder rate under control. Reuters

Iran Confirms Missile Test, Drawing Tough Response From Trump Aide
Iran said on Wednesday it had test-fired a new ballistic missile, prompting a tough response from a senior adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump. Iran's defense minister said the test did not breach the Islamic Republic's nuclear agreement with world powers or a U.N. Security Council resolution endorsing the pact, Iran has test-fired several ballistic missiles since the nuclear deal in 2015, but the latest test was the first since Trump entered the White House. Trump said during his election campaign that he would stop Iran's missile program. MSNBC
VOA VIEW: Trump's warning is not like Obama's - he means what he says.

Speed Up Drug Approvals? FDA Already Did
President Donald Trump says he wants the Food and Drug Administration to speed up drug approvals and lower drug prices, but former FDA officials say it really couldn't get much faster. And consumer advocates said Trump's "preposterous promises" would be dangerous and would hurt both consumers and the drug industry. Trump met the CEOs of several big pharmaceutical companies Tuesday and promised to cut FDA regulation, making it easier to get drugs approved. Trump also signed an executive order mandating that agencies cut two regulations for every new regulation, without making it clear how they could do so. MSNBC

Trump Has Already raised $16M toward re-election
President Trump is already looking ahead to his re-election. His campaign and two related fund-raising committees have a combined $16 million in their war chest. Trump also has maintained his campaign, which will continue to be run out of Trump Tower in Manhattan. He will also keep up his databases of donors and supporters in hopes of pulling a repeat of his stunning November win in four years, Politico reported. NY Post

Millions In Campaign Funds Went To Trump Firms
President Trump’s campaign spent a total of $12.7 million at businesses run by him and his family members over the course of the 2016 presidential election, according to a tally of newly filed campaign-finance reports. The largest sums went to Trump’s airline, TAG Air, which received $8.7 million as the Republican used his own jet to fly around the country, according to a USA TODAY analysis of year-end reports filed this week. Another $2 million went to Trump Tower, the Trump Organization skyscraper that housed his campaign headquarters. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida, which Trump dubbed the Winter White House last month, received more than $435,000 during the campaign. The spending at Trump properties, which continued after he won the election, underscores how much Trump was willing to mingle his political and business operations – from buying meals at his own Trump Grill to renting space at his own golf clubs. USA Today


Hillary Clinton To Deliver 2017 Commencement Speech At Wellesley College
Long before Hillary Clinton was first lady or the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, she was a student at the Seven Sister school Wellesley College. Clinton graduated in 1969 after accomplishing a lot as a student. During her time there, she was president of the College Government Association and obtained the college's highest honor, the Durant Scholar. Upon graduation, the Chicago native was chosen by her fellow classmates to be the first-ever student commencement speaker. "Fear is always with us but we just don't have time for it. Not now," Clinton said during the speech. "Every protest, every dissent, whether it's an individual academic paper or Founder's parking lot demonstration, is unabashedly an attempt to forge an identity in this particular age. That attempt at forging for many of us over the past four years has meant coming to terms with our humanness." Fox News

State, In GOP Push To Fill Trump Cabinet
The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Rex Tillerson as secretary of State, as part of a fast-paced day for majority Republicans who also pushed past Democratic resistance to advance three other President Trump Cabinet picks to a final vote. The vote to confirm the former ExxonMobil executive as the country's top diplomat was 56-43. Earlier in the day, Senate Republicans, frustrated by Democrats’ attempts to delay other Cabinet confirmations, moved swiftly to advance three nominees to a final vote. On the most contentious nomination, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines, 11-to-9, to approve Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., for U.S. attorney general. Fox News

DeVos Nomination On Thin Ice With 2 GOP Senators Opposed
Donald Trump's nomination of school choice activist Betsy DeVos as education secretary is on thin ice after two Republican senators vowed to vote against her. DeVos, a billionaire Republican donor who spent more than two decades promoting charter schools, has emerged as one of Trump's most controversial Cabinet picks facing fierce opposition from Democrats, teachers unions and civil rights activists. With Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska in opposition, the nomination could die if DeVos loses the support of one more Republican — and all Democrats vote against her. Murkowski said she believed DeVos has much to learn about public education. Tampa Tribune
VOA VIEW: Two Republican Senators can move to the Democrats side.

Romania's President Seeks To Annul Graft Law Amid Protests
Romania's president said Thursday he would ask judges to declare unconstitutional a government decree that dilutes what qualifies as corruption, after hundreds of thousands protested against the measure. President Klaus Iohannis said Thursday that he would take the emergency decree to the Constitutional Court, which is the last legal resort to stop the law. The government passed an emergency ordinance early Wednesday to decriminalize cases of official misconduct if the funds involved are less than 200,000 lei ($47,800). Tampa Tribune

Trump Blasts Media At African-American "Listening Session"
During an event billed by the White House as a “listening session” celebrating the start of African-American History Month, President Trump took aim at the “dishonest” media again early Wednesday. “A lot of the media is the opposition party,” Mr. Trump said Wednesday, repeating a line his senior adviser Steve Bannon used in an interview last week. “They’re so biased.” “They’re very dishonest people,” he added, and once again brought up the issue of a mistake a journalist made -- and later corrected -- about the removal of Martin Luther King Jr.’s bust from the Oval Office. (Time magazine’s Zeke Miller corrected his report shortly after to note that the sculpture of the civil rights icon remained in the executive suite.) CBS

Senate GOP Suspends Rules, Advances Trump Picks Without Democrats
Republicans who lead a key Senate panel suspended their own rules Wednesday and advanced President Trump’s picks to lead the Treasury and Health and Human Services departments unilaterally, saying they had no choice after Democrats boycotted committee votes for a second day in a row. The Senate Finance Committee advanced Steven Mnuchin to lead Treasury and Rep. Tom Price as health secretary on a pair of 14-0 votes without any Democrats present. The votes were supposed to occur on Tuesday. Yet Democrats derailed the markup by refusing to show up, which meant the panel didn’t have the quorum needed to do business. At least one Democrat must be present. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: There is more than one way to skin a cat.

Jeff Sessions Approved By Senate Judiciary Committee For Attorney General
The 11-9 vote came a day later than expected, after Senate Democrats doubled down on their opposition to the nomination during a Tuesday meeting. Democrats questioned Mr. Sessions’ ability to function independently from Mr. Trump, pointing to the president’s Monday night dismissal of acting attorney general Sally Q. Yates as a need for independence in the office. The opposition continued Wednesday ahead of the vote as Sen. Al Franken raised questions about Mr. Trump’s earlier pledges to investigate allegations of voter fraud in the 2016 election. While Mr. Trump obtained enough votes through the electoral college to win, he lost the popular vote to Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton by about 2.8 million votes. Washington Times

How ID Thieves Are Outsmarting "Smart Cards"
Millions of credit cards have been converted to so-called “smart cards” -- credit cards embedded with computer chips -- over the past year in an effort to cut down on fraud. But it turns out that crooks just got smarter too, pushing identity theft to record-breaking levels. “We saw criminals diversifying the way they commit crimes,” said Al Pascual, senior vice president and head of fraud and security at Javelin Strategy & Research, which released its annual identity theft survey today. Instead of cutting credit card fraud, new technology simply changed the type of fraud committed, Pascual added.  “Criminals can’t counterfeit as many cards as they used to,” he said, “so what do they do? They take over your account.” CBS

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Trump's Pick To Head VA Rejects Radical Change To Fix Agency
President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs is promising to meet veterans' health care needs and says dismantling the beleaguered agency or making wide-scale firings isn't the answer. During the campaign, Trump described the VA as "the most corrupt" and "probably the most incompetently run" of all federal agencies. But as nominee David Shulkin, the VA's top health official, prepared for a Senate hearing Wednesday, the 57-year-old physician was suggesting more modest changes. He was expected to face tough questioning about any plans to work more closely with the private sector and about a persistent backlog in processing disability claims. "VA is a unique national resource that is worth saving, and I am committed to doing just that," Shulkin said in prepared remarks obtained by The Associated Press. "There will be far greater accountability, dramatically improved access, responsiveness and expanded care options, but the Department of Veterans Affairs will not be privatized under my watch." ABC

Flynn Violated Constitution With Russia Speech, Democrats Say
Congressional Democrats are questioning whether President Trump’s new National Security Advisor violated Pentagon policy and the Constitution when he accepted money from a Russian state television network for a speaking engagement. Democrats made the allegations in a letter to the Pentagon seeking more details about the payments to retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who has acknowledged the paid engagement to appear with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a televised banquet for the state-owned news channel RT in late 2015 and talk about radical Islam. Flynn has declined to provide details about any payments from RT, which he has told reporters came through a speaker’s bureau. ABC

Trump Praises Douglass, Other Famous African Americans
President Donald Trump kicked off Black History Month on Wednesday by gathering some of his black aides and supporters at the White House for a "listening" session in which he praised the contributions of slave-turned-abolitionist Frederick Douglass and other African-American icons. "Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who has done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice," Trump told the group gathered in the Roosevelt Room. The president's comments drew immediate backlash on social media from critics who perceived it as a reference to a still-living Douglass. Douglass, who died in 1895, was one of the country's most influential and celebrated African-Americans. Philadelphia Inquirer

Trump Blasted Australian Prime Minister During ‘Worst Call By Far’
President Trump reportedly blasted the Australian Prime Minister during a phone call between the leaders of the two longtime allies. Trump told Australian leader Malcolm Turnbull that the conversation was “the worst call by far” among talks with various world leaders that day and ended the scheduled hour-long conversation after just 25 minutes, according to The Washington Post. Trump was reportedly incensed that the Prime Minister expected him to abide by an Obama administration agreement to take in 1,250 refugees from Australia. NY Post
VOA VIEW: Trump is not Obama - Australia must take care of their own business.

With Flynn Putting Iran ‘On Notice,’ The First Days Of President Trump’s Foreign Policy Set A Combative Tone
President Trump is advancing a combative and iconoclastic ­foreign policy that appears to ­sideline traditional diplomacy and concentrate decision-making among a small group of aides who are quickly projecting their new “America First” approach to the world. Just before the Senate confirmed Trump’s new secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, on Wednesday, national security adviser ­Michael Flynn made a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room to deliver a tight-lipped warning to Iran over its most recent ballistic missile test. “As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice,” Flynn said. Washington Post

3 Reaasons Why Massachusetts Will Be A Hotspot In The Fight Over Trump’s Immigration Order
From the airports to the courts to the streets, President Donald Trump’s immigration order was met with displays of resistance in Boston. Signed into law Friday, part of Trump’s order — baning immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days — was temporarily blocked by two federal judges in Boston. But not before the swift implementation of the law sent local universities and companies scrambling to figure out how their students and employees would be affected. The presence of these institutions, combined with the equally swift mobilization of residents and civil rights activists over the weekend, illustrated the reasons why the fight over Trump’s order will be as heated as anywhere in Massachusetts. Boston Globe

Georgia Republicans Take Aim At ‘Sanctuary’ Campuses As Emory U Ducks Fight
State Rep. Earl Ehrhart’s proposal to cut off funding to Georgia colleges that declare they will defy President Donald Trump’s immigration policy is moving forward, even after Emory University backed off a decision to declare itself a “sanctuary campus.” Incoming Emory president Claire Sterk told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution such a declaration is only “symbolically important” anyways, warning that it could hurt the private school’s research and education funding in a Trump White House.
Ehrhart, one of the longest-serving Republicans in Georgia’s House, introduced legislation to ban colleges from receiving state funds if they aren’t complying with state and federal law after Emory and other colleges flirted with the “sanctuary” declaration.  His House Bill 37 was approved Wednesday by the chamber’s Education Committee, and it could reach a full House vote this month. Atlanta Journal
VOA VIEW: And the bottom linr is...

Mercedes-Benz Luxury Cars Fuel Fat Profits At Daimler
German automaker Daimler AG said Thursday that its fourth-quarter net profit rose 18 percent as the company's flagship Mercedes-Benz brand reaped fat returns on new SUV models. Net profit hit 2.2 billion euros ($2.4 billion), up from 1.9 billion in the year-ago quarter. Group revenue rose 1 percent to 41 billion euros. Booming profits at Mercedes-Benz outweighed losses at the company's truck business, which lost sales in Turkey and the Middle East. Operating earnings at the luxury brand rose 53 percent to 2.56 billion euros, driven by higher vehicle prices and sales of new SUVs. For the full year, Daimler made 8.7 billion euros net profit, up slightly from 2015. Houston Chronicle

Fed Nods To Improved Sentiment While Leaving Rates Unchanged
Federal Reserve officials left interest rates unchanged while acknowledging rising confidence among consumers and businesses following Donald Trump’s election victory. “Measures of consumer and business sentiment have improved of late,” the Federal Open Market Committee said in its statement Wednesday following a two-day meeting in Washington. Policy makers reiterated their expectations for moderate economic growth, “some further strengthening” in the labor market and a return to 2 percent inflation. The Fed provided little direction on when it might next raise borrowing costs, as officials grapple with the uncertainty created by a new presidential administration. Policy makers in December penciled three rate hikes into their 2017 forecasts, but committee members differ over assumptions regarding the extent to which tax cuts, spending and regulatory rollbacks proposed by Trump and Republicans might boost growth and inflation. Bloomberg


Super Bowl Advertisers Face New Risk Of Accidentally Provoking Trump
With an audience of more than 100 million tuning in Sunday, Super Bowl advertisers want their commercials to get attention -- just not the wrong kind. That’s even more true in an era where everything from Skittles to avocados has been politicized. None of the ads for this weekend’s game on Fox are expected to purposely press any political buttons, but advertisers want to avoid even accidentally offending anyone. That’s a tall order in a particularly tense moment in America, when CEOs are under pressure to take sides on major issues and the president routinely scolds companies on Twitter. Advertisers want to avoid situations like the one Coca-Cola Co. ran into three years ago with a Super Bowl ad with people of various ethnic backgrounds singing “America the Beautiful” in their native languages. The spot may have seemed innocuous, but it backfired in some circles, with people tweeting the hashtag #SpeakAmerican. Bloomberg

Roberts, Ginsburg Speak, But Not On Trump's High Court Pick
U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts and fellow Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg steered clear of saying anything about President Donald Trump's pick for a key high court post as they gave separate speeches Wednesday in Kentucky and Virginia. Roberts looked to the court's past, not its future, during a speech at the University of Kentucky, one day after Trump announced Neil Gorsuch as his nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the high court. And Ginsburg - who was criticized for speaking against Trump during last year's presidential campaign - did not mention Gorsuch or take questions during an appearance at the Virginia Military Institute. Philadelphia Inquirer

Mattis Criticizes NKorea Ahead Of Talks With Japan, SKorea
In his first public remarks abroad as U.S. defense secretary, Jim Mattis on Thursday criticized North Korea for provocative acts and said he would consult with South Korean and Japanese officials about whether the current strategy for getting the North to curtail or eliminate its nuclear and missile programs is adequate. Mattis spoke to reporters aboard his military plane en route to Osan air base from Washington. In the brief interview, he said he would be discussing the plan to install a new U.S. missile defense system, called Thaad, in South Korea as a means of deterring the North's ballistic missile threats against South Korean and Japan. Houston Chronicle
VOA VIEW: N Korea is not going to get its way.

Despite Trump’s Assurance, ‘Dreamers’ Still Feel Threatened By New Administration
President Donald Trump’s executive orders have not eased anxiety on American college campuses, where students brought into the country illegally as children continue to fear they could lose the safeguards that have allowed them to remain in the country and study. Indeed, his recent orders may have made matters worse. Ana Valdez, a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, watched over the weekend as crowds descended on the nation’s airports to protest Trump’s immigration order that fulfilled a promise to stop some Muslims from entering the country. She worries the next campaign promise he’ll fulfill is ending the status that has protected her from being deported. Charlotte Observer

Trump Praises Douglass, Other Famous African Americans
President Donald Trump kicked off Black History Month on Wednesday by gathering some of his black aides and supporters at the White House for a "listening" session in which he praised the contributions of slave-turned-abolitionist Frederick Douglass and other African-American icons. "Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who has done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice," Trump told the group gathered in the Roosevelt Room. The president's comments drew immediate backlash on social media from critics who perceived it as a reference to a still-living Douglass. Douglass, who died in 1895, was one of the country's most influential and celebrated African-Americans. Las Vegas Sun

Pentagon Review Finds No Effort To ‘Rosy-Up’ IS Intelligence
An independent Pentagon review concludes that intelligence about U.S. progress fighting the Islamic State group wasn't falsified under President Barack Obama. The Pentagon's inspector general spent 16 months investigating complaints from intelligence analysts who alleged that senior officials at the U.S. Central Command were reworking their reports to offer a more positive view of U.S. operations against IS in Iraq and Syria. Retired Gen. Lloyd Austin III, who used to run CENTCOM, rejected allegations that intelligence reports were distorted because he did not like to receive bad news. He told the inspector general he had no knowledge of anybody trying to "rosy-up intelligence." Las Vegas Sun

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U.S. Missile Cruiser Antietam Runs Aground In Japan
A U.S. missile cruiser ran aground Tuesday off the coast of Japan, according to the Navy Times and local Japanese news sources. The forward-deployed USS Antietam, named after a battle between Confederate and Union forces during the American Civil War, grounded after anchoring out in high winds, U.S. Navy officials said. The ship's crew noticed the cruiser was dragging its anchor. After it began moving through the water, the crew felt the ship lose control in both propellers. The wreck caused the ship to discharge 1,100 gallons of oil into the sea, near its home port of Yokosuka. U.S. Naval Forces Japan did not say how long it would take to repair the ship, after if was brought back to base with a tugboat, according to Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun. UPI News

San Francisco Sues Trump Over Sanctuary Cities Executive Order
San Francisco filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump after he threatened to cut off federal funding to sanctuary cities. Trump last week signed an executive order, in part, putting the country's local governments on notice that they would lose federal funding if they acted as sanctuary cities -- cities that do not deport undocumented immigrants despite federal law -- and if they do not cooperate with federal immigration agents. In the lawsuit filed Tuesday, San Francisco argues Trump's orders violate the Constitution's provisions protecting state rights, which extend to cities. There are about 400 sanctuary cities and counties in the United States. UPI News

In Call With Australian Leader, Trump Badgers And Brags Before cutting It Short
It should have been one of the most congenial calls for the new commander in chief - a conversation with the leader of Australia, one of America's staunchest allies, at the end of a triumphant week. Instead, President Donald Trump blasted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a refugee agreement and boasted about the magnitude of his electoral college win, according to senior U.S. officials briefed on the Saturday exchange. Then, 25 minutes into what was expected to be an hour-long call, Trump abruptly ended it. At one point Trump informed Turnbull that he had spoken with four other world leaders that day - including Russian President Vladimir Putin - and that, "This was the worst call by far." Trump's behavior suggests that he is capable of subjecting world leaders, including close allies, to a version of the vitriol he frequently employs against political adversaries and news organizations in speeches and on Twitter. Charlotte Observer

Matthew McConaughey Joins Small Group Of Stars Calling For U.S. To Unite Behind Trump
From Meryl Streep’s blistering criticism of Trump at the Golden Globes on Jan. 8 to the dozens of celebrities who attended Women’s Marches all over the country on Jan. 21 to the slew of speeches against his immigration ban at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Monday, most stars have made it clear: They don’t like or support Donald Trump. Yet a small but growing contingent of A-listers have voiced opinions on Trump that, while not exactly laudatory, haven’t condemned him with the entertainment industry’s usual vitriol. Academy Award-winning actress Nicole Kidman said a week after Streep’s Golden Globes speech that while she was “reticent to start commenting politically,” Trump had won the general election and as a result, “we as a country need to support whoever is the president because that’s what the country’s based on,” per BBC News. A week later, star Zoe Salanda told AFP that Hollywood “got cocky and became arrogant” during the election, bullying Trump and unintentionally making him appear more sympathetic to his followers. Kansas City Star
VOA VIEW: The losers will see rejection from the populous.

Synthetic-Drug Scourge In Florida Starts In Far-Away Secret Labs, Feds Say
China’s “weakly regulated and poorly monitored” pharmaceutical industry is to blame for the epidemic of deadly fentanyl and similar drugs being shipped to Florida and other states, a federal government report concluded Wednesday. The findings are not new — the growing problem of Chinese synthetic drugs was highlighted in the Miami Herald’s 2015 Pipeline China series — but underscore the challenges of curbing the opioid-addiction wave that has hit South Florida and communities across the country. The report noted that even though China has cooperated with the American government to ban some versions of the potent drug commonly dubbed “synthetic heroin,” new versions are constantly concocted in clandestine labs before unknown quantities make their way to North America. Miami Herald

Michigan Man Made Up Story Of Mother Dying In Iraq After Trump Travel Ban, Imam Says
A Michigan man falsely claimed his mother died in Iraq after President Donald Trump's travel ban went into effect, a local imam said Wednesday. Mike Hager, the man, had told a local Fox affiliate that his mother was stranded at an Iraqi airport after Trump's executive order barring immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries went into effect on Saturday. Hager — an American citizen and a former refugee from Iraq — said he was allowed to board a flight home, while his mother was not. Hager said he had traveled to Iraq with relatives to visit his ailing mother. "They destroyed us. I went with my family, I came back by myself," Hager said. "They destroyed our family." However, a local imam, Husham Al-Hussainy, clarified to the Fox affiliate that Hager's mother had actually died on January 22, five days before Trump signed the executive order. Al-Hussainy said Hager's mother had been receiving treatment for kidney disease in Michigan. SF Gate
VOA VIEW: Oops - fake news.

Former President George H.W. Bush To Toss Coin At Super Bowl LI
Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara will participate in the coin toss at Super Bowl LI, commissioner Roger Goodell said today. "The Bushes didn't hesitate for one second in accepting it," said the couple's spokesman, Jim McGrath. "They couldn't be prouder of their hometown and the Texans organization." Bush, a frequent visitor to Texans games,  was discharged on Monday from Houston Methodist Hospital, where he was treated for pneumonia for more than two weeks.
Bush, 92, made a fast recovery after coming off a ventilator and breathing tube, assistance typically only used in cases of life-threatening pneumonia. He received the assistance for 48 hours in Methodist's intensive care unit, then improved steadily after the tube was removed. SF Gate

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For many in the Israeli settlement of Bet El, deep in the West Bank, Donald Trump's choice of Jared Kushner as his senior adviser on the Middle East is a sign of politics shifting in their favor. They regard Kushner, whose family's charitable foundation has donated tens of thousands of dollars to their settlement, as part of a diplomatic re-balancing after what they view as eight years of anti-Israel bias under the US administration of Barack Obama. "He will stand up for our interests. I suppose he will lean in our favor," said Avi Lavi, 46, who has lived in Bet El for more than 40 years. "He'll be fair, as opposed to Obama, whose policy leaned always towards the Arabs." Jerusalem Post

"In a sense, speaking about the humanity of the perpetrators and showing they were human is an extremely important warning for us today and for the future generations."
 Krakow's National Remembrance Institute (INR) released an online database with the names of Nazi SS commanders and guards at the Auschwitz concentration and death camp in German-occupied Poland. The comprehensive online database includes almost 9,000 names of SS men employed at the camp from the time of its founding to liquidation. It is the first census commonly available in Poland which has been done on the basis of attainable sources. In 1947 the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg declared the SS a criminal organization. Courts all over the world sentenced SS officers for their membership, but only 12 percent of SS soldiers at the Auschwitz death camp were caught and convicted after World War II. Jerusalem Post

Dakota Pipeline: US Army To Allow Work On Final Section
The US Army has been ordered to allow the construction of the final section of a controversial oil pipeline. North Dakota Senator John Hoeven said the Army Corps of Engineers had been directed to allow work under Lake Oahe, a reservoir on the Missouri River. Native Americans, who have protested against the Dakota Access Pipeline for months, vowed legal action to stop it. President Donald Trump recently signed an executive order signalling his support for the pipeline. But the president has insisted the order was contingent upon pipeline makers using US-made materials and equipment. BBC

Trudeau Breaks Promise On Reforming Canada's Voting System
The commitment to get rid of Canada's federal first-past-the-post electoral system was one of his primary election promises. Opposition parties called the move "cynical and jaded". Trudeau's Liberal government said the move was made because Canadians were undecided about what kind of voting system they would like to have instead. "It has become evident that the broad support needed for a change of this magnitude, did not exist," said Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould. BBC
VOA VIEW: Trudeau is like all liberals - excuses.

Republicans Target Environmental Rules Protecting Parks And Limiting Methane
Republicans have begun dismantling Obama-era environmental protections by targeting rules that restrict drilling in national parks, curb the release of methane and prevent people from being harmed when the tops of mountains are blown off to access coal. House lawmakers are using the Congressional Review Act, which enables them to revoke federal rules imposed in the last 60 legislative days, to strip away what Republicans call “job-killing red tape” designed to tackle climate change and protect people and wildlife from harmful pollution. Guardian

Roger Goodell Avoids Trump, Addresses Deflategate In Press Conference
Nothing produces awkward NFL moments quite like watching the commissioner parry all those thorny issues involving the league’s oldest and newest troublemakers – the Raiders and Patriots. Reporters spent time poking Roger Goodell about Deflategate, the Raiders’ now-threatened move to Las Vegas, and other delicate topics at the commissioner’s less-formal, less-crowded and, frankly, less-newsy pre-Super Bowl news conference, held on a Wednesday this year instead of the traditional Friday afternoon slot. Going sans necktie and speaking in a room about half the size as his usual Super Bowl venue, Goodell insisted nothing was off-kilter between the league and either team. Guardian

Barack Obama Spotted On Holiday With Sir Richard Branson During Post-Presidency Vacation Time
As America and the world debates Donald Trump's controversial executive orders, Barack Obama is enjoying some much-needed fun in the sun. TMZ reporters have spotted the former president enjoying himself in the British Virgin Islands, and have managed to capture photographs and footage of him on his travels. He has spent some time in the company of Richard Branson and appears to enjoy being able to wear casual clothes, sporting a backwards baseball cap and flip-flops. Telegraph

US Should Lift Measure Suspending Refugee Resettlement, Says UN Chief Guterres
Reacting to the recent suspension by the United States of its longstanding refugee programme, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today said resettlement is often “the only possible solution” for people fleeing conflict and persecution, and that the US policy, which bars entry of Syrians into the country, “should be removed sooner rather than later.” Asked about the impact of the Executive Order signed by President Donald Trump on 27 January, that, among things, halts the entire US refugee programme for 120 days, bars entry of refugees from seven mostly Muslim countries for 90 days and suspends entry of Syrians until further notice, the UN chief said resettlement is “a must […] and the United States has always been at the forefront of refugee protection. Syrians are those that at present have the most dramatic needs.” UN News

Think Of Those Fleeing Syria And Elsewhere Not With Fear But With Open Arms And Open Heart – UN Agency Chief
Expressing shock at the scale of the devastation in war-ravaged city of Aleppo, the top United Nations refugee official today made an impassioned plea for the world to stand in solidarity with those suffering from the effects of conflict there in Syria, as well as in other places such as Iraq, Somalia and Yemen. “There are people here, some of them are returning to these ruins, who need help, immediate help. They are cold, they are hungry, they need to work to earn some money, they need the elementary things in life in this very ancient city,” said Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, presently in Aleppo as part of his mission to Syria. UN News

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