Trump Insistent About Voter Fraud; Says People Say 'I Am Right'
President Trump is sticking with his argument that millions of illegal immigrants voted in the 2016 presidential election, amid calls for him to provide proof and questions about whether he’ll indeed have an official probe into the issue. “Many people have come out and said I am right,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly to be aired Sunday before the NFL Super Bowl. Trump didn’t directly answer a question about whether he, in fact, has evidence -- but suggested that he has seen voter-registration records that suggest widespread voter fraud. “We can be babies, but you take a look at the registration,” Trump said. “You have illegals, you have dead people, you have this. It’s really a bad situation.” Fox News
VOA VIEW: Bet on Trump.

Tom Brady Suspects Super Bowl Jersey Was Stolen After Game
Tom Brady suspected that his Super Bowl game-winning jersey was stolen from the New England Patriots locker room in the aftermath of the team's remarkable victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI on Sunday. Brady looked flustered as he searched his locker area at NRG Stadium but was unable to locate the game-worn jersey that he donned in leading the Patriots to a 34-28 overtime victory. “It was right here. I know exactly where I put it,” Brady said as he called the security staff and team equipment managers to assist in the search. Brady, who was named the Super Bowl MVP for the record fourth time in his career, frantically looked through several bags and told nearby players that the iconic No. 12 was missing. USA Today

Pence: Will Use 'All Legal Means At Our Disposal' To Reinstate Immigration Ban
Vice President Mike Pence said Sunday that the federal judge who halted President Trump’s temporary immigration ban “made the wrong decision” and vowed to use “all legal means at our disposal” to protect Americans. “From the outset of his campaign and administration, the president of the United States has made it clear to put the safety of the American people first,” Pence said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We are going to win this argument.” Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 27 that temporarily halted immigration from seven mostly Muslim nations and the United States’ Syrian refugee program. The order follows his steadfast argument that radical Islamic terrorism poses a major threat to Americans’ safety. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Bet on Trump.

McConnell: Congress Unlikely To Step In If Courts Throw Out Trump Travel Ban
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said President Donald Trump isn't likely to get his travel ban implemented by Congress if courts strike it down. "I don't know that that's necessary," McConnell told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" Sunday. "I mean, the courts are going to decide whether the executive order the President issued is valid or not, and we all follow court orders." McConnell's comments come after a federal judge put a pause on Trump's order that barred citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries -- Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen -- from entering the US for 90 days, all refugees for 120 days and indefinitely halts refugees from Syria. CNN


In Cuba Visit, Colorado Governor Sees Government Desire To Work With Trump
The governor of Colorado said on Sunday he believes the Cuban government wants to further improve relations with the United States under President Donald Trump, as he wrapped up a three-day visit to the Communist-run island nation. “They seemed eager for the chance to build a relationship with President Trump and have it be a constructive one,” Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, said of his meeting with Cuba’s point person for U.S. relations, Josefina Vidal. He said in an interview that Vidal, director of U.S. affairs at the Cuban foreign ministry, and other foreign ministry officials “were cautiously optimistic." Reuters

Tale Of Two Donalds: Trump Gives Europe Splitting Headache
"Our Donald", or "the other Donald"? European Union leaders meeting in Malta found themselves taking sides, between their summit chairman, "our Donald" Tusk, and the new U.S. president, Donald Trump. But despite declarations of unity, EU states are split on how to respond to policies from a man who has reversed staunch postwar U.S. support for European integration and suggested others follow Britain out of a bloc he has called "a vehicle for Germany". Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, said EU leaders gave him the "our Donald" nickname in Malta. He presented it as a sign of their support, saying before the summit that Trump posed a "threat" to the bloc, alongside Russia, China and violent Islam. Reuters

Trump’s Russia-U.S. Comparison Rejected By Democrats And Republicans
Some Republican and Democratic lawmakers have rejected President Donald Trump's most recent notion that the United States government is morally equivalent to Vladimir Putin's Russia. The most recent controversial claim took place during the president's interview with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, which aired Sunday before the Super Bowl. During the discussion, Trump defended his decision to criticize longtime allies instead of the Russian authoritarian regime. "I say it's better to get along with Russia than not," Trump said. O'Reilly pushed back. "He's a killer though. Putin's a killer," the host said, referring to Putin's critics who have been found dead and Russian military tactics in Syria and Ukraine. MSNBC
VOA VIEW: Trumps  own words cause him problems - he's to blunt.

Human Trafficking Increased In 2016, Organization Reports
The National Human Trafficking Hotline found that 7,500 cases of human trafficking were reported in 2016 — up from 5,526 in the previous year, based on the group's data. The hotline, which is run by the nonprofit organization Polaris, maintains a resource center for victims of trafficking and aggregates statistics based on incoming reports and phone calls. It also reported that California and Texas are again among the most egregious states for human trafficking. California bore the lion's share with over 1,300 incidences of human trafficking last year, almost double any other state, the nonprofit reported. MSNBC


Sudanese President Criticizes Iran And Egypt
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir accused Egyptian intelligence of supporting Sudan's opposition forces, and vowed to take a border dispute between the two neighbors to the United Nations Security Council if negotiations fail. Al-Bashir, who came to power in 1989 coup and is the only sitting head of state facing genocide charges at the International Criminal Court, also accused Iran of attempting to spread Shiite Islam in Sudan in an extensive interview with Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV network. A close ally of Saudi Arabia, al-Bashir spoke at length about what he called Iran's expansionist plans in the region — saying the United States essentially "handed over" Iraq to Iranian control by ousting Saddam Hussein. "Americans set up a Shiite state in Iraq," he said, adding that Iran now controls four Arab capitals, including Damascus, Lebanon's Beirut through Hezbollah and Yemen's Sanaa through Shiite rebels that control the capital. Atlanta Journal

Computer Coding As A Foreign Language? Florida Lawmakers Again Push The Idea
Miami businesswoman Elizabeth De Zulueta speaks English and Spanish. She knows some Italian and Russian, too. She’s also a robotics engineer who knows how to code using technical training in computer science and electrical and mechanical engineering. Having studied languages and coding, De Zulueta knows the value of both skills, and she can attest from her personal experience — while there are striking similarities in the mechanics of how each is learned — computer coding and foreign language are not the same. “There are some essential parts of learning a foreign language that you’re not going to get from coding,” which derives from mathematics, said De Zulueta, who founded her own start-up robotics company, called Zulubots, in Miami-Dade’s Kendall area. Miami Herald

Sen. Bernie Sanders On President Trump: ‘This Guy Is A Fraud’
Sen. Bernard Sanders on Sunday called President Trump “a fraud” who is selling out voters who believed they were electing a man who would stand up to Wall Street, pointing to the number of millionaires and billionaires nominated for Cabinet posts and moves to roll back some federal financial regulations. Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the Vermont independent and progressive hero said working-class Americans who voted for Mr. Trump will soon realize they were conned. “It is hard not to laugh to see President Trump alongside these Wall Street guys … This guy is a fraud,” Mr. Sanders said. “I hope all of these folks who voted for Mr. Trump because he thought he would stand up for working people, man … I think he’s going to sell out the middle class and the working class of this country.” Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Sanders is a socialist - fact.

‘Speaking His Mind’ — Mike Pence Defends President Trump’s ‘So-Called Judge’ Tweet
Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday defended President Trump’s recent attacks on the federal judge who halted the administration’s travel ban on seven Muslim-majority nations last week. Appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” Mr. Pence said the president was merely “speaking his mind” when he referred to U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle, as a “so-called judge” whose opinions were “ridiculous” and would be overturned. “I think the American people are very accustomed to this president speaking his mind and speaking very straight with them,” Mr. Pence said when asked whether Mr. Trump’s barbs undermined the separation of powers between the executive and judicial branches, a question he didn’t directly answer. Washington Times

Chris Christie Criticizes "Haphazard"Rollout Of Trump Travel Ban
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Sunday criticized the rollout of President Donald Trump’s executive order barring travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, saying he believes Mr. Trump is right “on the substance” but that it “should have been done better.” “I think anyone who looks at this knows it could have been and should have been done better,” he told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” He argued that the reason Mr. Trump’s critics have been so successful is not because he’s wrong “on the substance,” but because the order wasn’t rolled out properly. CBS
VOA VIEW: Christie is right.

China's First Large Homemade Passenger Jet To Fly In 2017
After years of delays, China's first large homemade passenger jetliner will take to the air for its maiden flight in the first half of this year, state media reported Monday.
State-owned aircraft maker Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China Ltd., or Comac, based in Shanghai, has nearly completed work on the 175-passenger C919, the ruling Communist Party newspaper People's Daily reported. The C919 was originally due to fly in 2015, but has been beset by delays blamed on manufacturing problems. It is now scheduled to enter service in 2019, aimed at competing with the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737, along with the Russian Irkut MC-21. Airbus and Boeing say the market for new aircraft will be worth more than $5 trillion over the next 20 years. Industry experts say China faces a tough slog capturing a significant share of that market, even with government support. Comac has 517 orders for the C919. Tampa Tribune

Republicans Seek Distance From Trump's Comments On Putin, US
President Donald Trump has long expressed a desire for improved relations with Moscow, but his latest comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin and the U.S. are leading some fellow Republicans to take a step back from the president — on this issue at least. Told by Fox News' Bill O'Reilly during an interview that the Russian leader is "a killer," Trump said the U.S. has killers, too. "What do you think? Our country's so innocent?" Trump said during the taped interview broadcast during Sunday's Super Bowl pregame show. Trump has praised Putin and signaled that U.S.-Russia relations could be in for a makeover under his leadership, even after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign to help Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton. Tampa Tribune

Russia Wants Apology After Fox's O'Reilly Calls Putin 'A Killer'
The Kremlin demanded an apology from Fox News on Monday, after a journalist from the network called President Vladimir Putin “a killer.” Bill O’Reilly made the remark, which related to alleged political killings of journalists and other dissenters, in an interview with President Trump that was broadcast Sunday. Trump said he would like assistance from Russia in the fight against the Islamic State and added, "Will I get along with them? I have no idea." "Putin's a killer," O'Reilly interjected. “There are a lot of killers. We've got a lot of killers. Well, you think our country's so innocent?” Trump replied. USA Today

The World's Largest Majority-Muslim Nation Isn't Sure How To Deal With Trump
The tumultuous beginning of Donald Trump's presidency seems to have catapulted Indonesia into a highly awkward situation. Officials in the country, traditionally an ally of the United States, have made apparently contradictory statements on Trump's new immigration policies, prompting some analysts to suggest that the government wants to signal its opposition to the rules without accidentally picking a fight with the unpredictable U.S. president. Soon after the executive order banning or restricting travel from seven countries went into effect, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said that Indonesia, which is not among the seven, had "deep regrets about the policy."  ater, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said: "We are not affected by the policy. Why fret?" Johan Budi, his spokesman, said that Widodo had "made sure that the policy of the American president does not have an impact on Indonesian citizens. ... Therefore, people are asked to remain quiet." SF Gate

Utah House Calls For Repeal Of Bears Ears Monument
Utah's House of Representatives has passed a resolution asking President Donald Trump to repeal the newly named Bears Ears National Monument. The measure passed along mostly along party lines Tuesday, with Republicans voting in support. As lawmakers voted, about two dozen protesters standing outside the House chamber chanted, "Hands off our monument!" The House also passed another resolution asking Utah's congressional delegation to support shrinking southern Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The resolutions do not change the monuments but serve as official requests from the Legislature. Both must be approved by Utah's Senate and Gov. Gary Herbert. SF Gate

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Trump Appointee Spoke At Event For "Cult-Like" Iran Exile Group
An official in U.S. President Donald Trump’s Cabinet and at least one of his advisers gave paid speeches for organizations linked to an Iranian exile group that killed Americans before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, ran donation scams and saw its members set themselves on fire over the arrest of their leader. Elaine Chao, confirmed this week as Mr. Trump’s transportation secretary, received $50,000 in 2015 for a five-minute speech to the political wing of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, previously called a “cult-like” terrorist group by the State Department. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani also was paid an unknown sum to talk to the group, known as the MEK. CBS

VP Pence Responds On Whether Administration Should Repair Obamacare Instead Of ‘Repeal And Replace’
Vice President Mike Pence responded to a top GOP senator’s suggestion that Republicans should “repair” Obamacare before replacing it, saying the Trump administration still favors repealing the law’s “most corrosive elements” while working on an “orderly” replacement. ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos asked the vice president about a recent remark by Sen. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, comparing the health care law to an old bridge that needs replacement. ABC

Mike Pence On LGBT Rights: Discrimination Has 'No Place' In Trump Administration
Vice President Mike Pence defended President Trump's decision to let stand an Obama-era order protecting the rights of some LGBT workers, noting that Trump made clear during his campaign that "discrimination would have no place in our administration." ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos asked Pence about the response of social conservatives to Trump's decision last week to keep intact President Obama's 2014 executive order barring discrimination against LGBT employees of federal contractors. Stephanopoulos referred to the reaction of Bob Vander Plaats of the conservative group The Family Leader, who said, "Our base would want to know who is responsible for what we believe is an issue of religious liberty — that would be of concern to us." ABC

Trump And Staff Rethink Tactics After Stumbles
John Kerry, who served as secretary of state, in Washington last month. Mr. Kerry and other prominent Democrats wrote a letter saying that President Trump’s order “ultimately undermines the national security of the United States, rather than making us safer.” A group of prominent Democrats who served in recent administrations, including John Kerry and Madeleine K. Albright, have called on the courts to extend a ruling blocking crucial parts of President Trump’s travel ban, saying the White House executive order would “endanger U.S. troops” and disrupt antiterrorism efforts. The former officials expressed their concerns on Monday to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, based in San Francisco, which is considering the matter after a judge in Seattle effectively ruled that travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations as well as vetted refugees from all nations could, for now, continue to enter the United States. NY Times
VOA VIEW: Stanch Democrats are still trying to call the shots.

Free Tuition Doesn't Mean Free College, Students Point Out
They don't mean to sound ungrateful, but ... New York public college students who would stand to gain from the nation's most ambitious free-tuition proposal are quick to point out a sobering reality from their own meager finances: Free tuition doesn't mean free college. Take Brooklyn College senior Florencia Salinas, who despite having her tuition nearly covered in full through scholarships and grants, still expects to graduate with a daunting $50,000 in debt. Or Buffalo State College junior Avery Edwards, who despite similar financial aid expects to owe $20,000 after collecting his degree next year. That's because tuition, at around $6,500 a year, is just about a third of the typical four-year student's total public college bill in New York. Room and board are the bigger-ticket items at nearly $13,000 a year, and student fees and books tack on another $3,000. Houston Chronicle

Queen Elizabeth II Marks Record 65 Years On Throne
Queen Elizabeth II has become the first British monarch to reach the milestone of 65 years on the throne. Monday's Sapphire Jubilee is being marked with cannon salutes in London's Green Park and at the Tower of London. Buckingham Palace also released a photo of the queen by David Bailey to mark the occasion. In the picture, taken in 2014, the monarch wears a suite of sapphire jewelry given to her by her father as a wedding gift in 1947. The palace says the 90-year-old queen will spend the day quietly at her Sandringham estate in eastern England. She became monarch on the death of her father, King George VI, from lung cancer at age 56 on Feb. 6, 1952. Elizabeth surpassed Queen Victoria as Britain's longest-serving monarch in 2015. Houston Chronicle

Netanyahu Meets UK's May For Talks On Iran, Settlements
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is meeting Prime Minister Theresa May in London for talks he hopes will focus on Iranian weapons, and not Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Netanyahu told reporters in Jerusalem that he would "emphasize the need for a common front against Iran's defiant aggression which has raised its head in recent days." Iran fired a ballistic missile last week. Netanyahu vehemently opposes the 2015 international agreement that imposed curbs on Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions — a deal Britain backs.U.S. President Donald Trump, with whom May's government wants close ties, is a critic of the deal. May also is under pressure to condemn Israeli settlement-building on occupied Palestinian land. May's office says she'll raise Britain's longstanding concerns during Monday's meeting. Charlotte Observer


Iran Avoids Taking Trump Bait To Collapse Nuclear Deal, For Now
Since the U.S. imposed new sanctions on Tehran over a ballistic missile test Friday, Iran’s conservative media has railed against the government for being too soft, the military has tested another projectile, and officials have generally thumbed their noses at a White House warning that they were now “on notice.” What hasn’t happened, however, is as important: no official has threatened to abandon the nuclear deal signed in 2015 under the previous U.S. administration of President Barack Obama. That’s in part because the new sanctions are largely symbolic and in line with Obama’s policy. It’s also a sign of how many reasons Iran has to stick with the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and ensure that if it must collapse, Washington -- not Tehran -- takes the blame. Bloomberg

Cargill At Odds With Trump As It Warns On Immigration, Trade
The chief executive officer of Cargill Inc., the largest closely held U.S. company, has become the latest corporate leader to voice concerns about immigration and trade protectionism. In a speech and an opinion column, David MacLennan warned of the economic dangers posed by curbs to legal immigration. He also said trade protectionism risks creating food shortages and even sparking conflict. "The current climate has many of our smartest people from outside the U.S. questioning whether they want to stay here," he wrote in the Huffington Post Friday. "We don’t want to drive away talented people and their innovative thinking. It would weaken not only our food system, but the U.S. economy.” Bloomberg

Donald Trump Is Using Barack Obama As A Security Blanket
President Donald Trump spent months running against Barack Obama's leadership style, faulting him for being "weak and ineffective" on Iran, lacking of focus the "real" job numbers and inability to combat ISIS because he was the group's "founder." What a difference a few months makes. Trump and his White House advisers are now using Obama as a security blanket, making almost identical moves he made during his tenure and defending possible mistakes by arguing that they were initially made by Barack Obama. The tactic is familiar: Obama, eight years after he succeeded President George W. Bush, was still blaming the 43rd president for some of the pockmarks on his legacy. CNN
VOA VIEW: CNN was for Obama, and against Trump.

Facebook Allows Users To Search For What's In Photos
Facebook users can now search for photos based on the content of the images by moving beyond text-driven technology to incorporating artificial intelligence. "Whether an image was discoverable was dependent on whether it was sufficiently tagged or had the right caption -- until now," according to a Facebook update by Joaquin Quiñonero Candela. "That's changing because we've pushed computer vision to the next stage with the goal of understanding images at the pixel level," Candela wrote. "This helps our systems do things like recognize what's in an image, what type of scene it is, if it's a well-known landmark, and so on. This, in turn, helps us better describe photos for the visually impaired and provide better search results for posts with images and videos." UPI News

Christie 'Bridgegate' Accuser Unlikely To Go Away Quietly
Like the two-term Republican governor he has set his sights on, William Brennan exhibits a penchant for the type of bluntness that often seems a birthright for anyone born in this state but that still has the capacity to startle. It has catapulted the former-firefighter-turned-gubernatorial-candidate into the spotlight as he pursues a criminal complaint against Gov. Chris Christie in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal. Brennan has embraced the quest with a zealousness that would make Captain Ahab blush. It isn't an exaggeration to say his campaign platform seemingly has one plank: bringing Christie to justice for the alleged political retaliation plot against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee who didn't endorse him. Philadelphia Inquirer

Robert Kraft And Crowd Mercilessly Stick It To Roger Goodell
The most anticipated handoff of the Super Bowl didn’t come until after the game had ended. Roger Goodell handed the Lombardi Trophy to Robert Kraft after the Patriots stole Super Bowl LI in stunning fashion, rallying for a 34-28 overtime victory. The commissioner met face-to-face with the Patriots owner, after the two had become enemies following Deflategate, for which Goodell threw penalty after penalty at New England, including suspending Tom Brady the first four games of this year. Goodell tried to congratulate Kraft. The Houston crowd so drowned out his words with boos, Kraft was perhaps the only person who could hear him clearly. NY Post

Pence Vows To Use ‘All Legal Means’ To Overturn Judge’s Travel Ban Block
Vice President Mike Pence vowed to use “all legal means” to overturn a judge’s “wrong decision” that put President Trump’s immigration and refugee executive order on hold. “It is quite clear that president has the ability to determine who has access to the country when it comes to national security,” Pence told “Fox News Sunday. “…We believe the judge made the wrong decision.” “We’re going to continue to use all legal means at our disposal to stay that order and move forward to take the steps necessary to protect our country,” Pence added. NY Post

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Despite White House Warning, Israel Pushes Settlement Bill
Israel's prime minister is moving ahead with a contentious law that would legalize dozens of settlement outposts in the West Bank, despite claims by experts that the bill itself is illegal and a warning from the White House that settlement construction "may not be helpful." Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under intense pressure from members of his coalition to bring the bill to a vote in parliament following last week's court-ordered demolition of an illegally built settlement outpost. But he risks drawing angry international condemnations, possibly even from the ostensibly friendly Trump administration, if he pushes forward. Las Vegas Sun

Unpredictable Trump Foreign Policy May Test US Spy Alliances
Donald Trump's unpredictable foreign policy could hamper long-standing U.S. intelligence-sharing partnerships as countries react to a president who seeks closer ties to Russia and is unafraid to offend American allies by cracking down on immigration or getting angry with friendly leaders. Veteran spies say intelligence relationships are built to weather storms between political leaders. Even in the worst of times, allies share intelligence to thwart threats. But the lack of understanding about Trump's foreign policy direction and his potential new friendship with Moscow are creating jitters across the Western world. "We are facing an unprecedented level of uncertainty today," said John Blaxland, a former Australian intelligence official and professor at Australian National University. He said there is mutual benefit to these "broad, deep" intelligence sharing relationships, but added: "It is hard to calculate just how much damage the new president's approach may have." Las Vegas Sun

Iran Allows U.S. Wrestling Team To Compete In Tournament
Iran has decided to allow the United States to compete in a wrestling tournament inside its borders, reversing a decision to deny entry visas, according to the foreign minister. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif made the decision Sunday after a U.S. federal judge blocked President Donald Trump's immigration executive order Friday. The International Wrestling Federation and the Iranian Wrestling Federation appealed the initial denial on behalf of the American wrestlers. Zarif tweeted: "Following the court ruling suspending #MuslimBan & the requests from Iranian Wrestling Federation & FILA, US Wrestlers' visa will be granted." Iran had originally denied all visas as a "reciprocal measure" after Trump's order banning entry of nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, to the United States. UPI News

Apple, Google, Uber Join Fight Against Trump Travel Ban
Dozens of tech companies, including behemoths like Apple, Google, and Facebook, are siding with Washington state and Minnesota as they fight President Donald Trump's ban on refugees and travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States. The companies filed briefs late Sunday with a federal appellate court saying the Trump executive order hurts their businesses. In their court filing with the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a total of 97 companies said Trump's travel ban "hinders the ability of American companies to attract great talent; increases costs imposed on business; makes it more difficult for American firms to compete in the international marketplace." The travel ban would prompt businesses to build operations outside the United States, said the companies. The long list of enterprises looking to join the fight against Trump are among the country's biggest, most high-profile businesses like Uber, eBay and Netflix. Atlanta Journal
VOA VIEW: It's time the big companies get set back.

Google, Facebook Partner With French Media Over "Fake News"
French journalists are teaming up with American internet giants Google and Facebook to fight propaganda and misinformation online, mirroring similar efforts already underway in the United States and Germany. French daily Le Monde says it is one of eight media organizations working with social networking site Facebook to fact-check questionable content ahead of France's upcoming presidential election. At the same time, nonprofit First Draft News announced the launch of CrossCheck , a verification project aimed at helping French voters "make sense of what and who to trust online." Google's News Lab is also involved. Google and Facebook have both been under increasing scrutiny over the spread of hoaxes, conspiracy theories and propaganda — sometimes referred to by the catchall term "fake news." Charlotte Observer

For Trump Foes, Democratic Gains May Remain Elusive In 2018
While Republicans hold only a slim majority in the U.S. Senate, Democrats occupy most of the seats up for election in two years. That means they must play defense against Republicans, especially in 10 states that Trump won. In the U.S. House, Republicans will be aided by favorable district boundaries that were drawn to maintain GOP political dominance. In some cases, the congressional districts were gerrymandered to pack high numbers of Democratic voters into just a few districts as a way to create a greater number of Republican-leaning seats. Democrats are extremely fired up right now," said Sam Wang, a Princeton University neuroscientist and statistician who has developed a statistical model for analyzing partisan gerrymandering. San Diego Union

Trump Threatens To Defund ‘Out Of Control’ California
President Donald Trump is threatening to withhold federal funds from “out of control” California if the state declares itself a sanctuary state. “If we have to, we’ll defund,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly before the Super Bowl. “We give tremendous amounts of money to California, California in many ways is out of control, as you know.” Trump's interview with Bill O' Reilly aired Sunday before the Super Bowl. The interview touched on a variety of topics from Putin to Trump threatening to defund California. Trump was responding to a question from O’Reilly about efforts by Democratic state legislators to make California a de-facto “sanctuary state” that would restrict state and local law enforcement, including school police and security departments, from using their resources to aid federal authorities in immigration enforcement. Kansas City Star

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"Only seven minutes is needed for the Iranian missile to hit Tel Aviv," senior member of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission and former Revolutionary Guard official, Majtaba Zonour, told semi-official Fars News Agency Saturday. His comments follow days of heated exchanges between US and Iranian officials. Tensions between Washington and Tehran have intensified after the Trump administration announced new sanctions targeting Iran’s ballistic-missile program. The US issued the new penalties in response to several Iranian missile launches that international powers say are in violation of Iran’s obligations. Jerusalem Post

It makes more sense to rigorously enforce the Iran nuclear deal than to dismantle it, said Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, signaling diminishing support for pulling the United States out of the deal. Ryan, speaking on “Meet the Press” in an interview to be broadcast in full on Sunday, said the removal of sanctions under the nuclear rollback for sanctions relief deal reached in 2015 between Iran and six major world powers, meant it would be too hard to reconstitute the sanctions. Jerusalem Post

France Election: Far-Right's Le Pen Rails Against Globalisation
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has launched her presidential election manifesto with a twin attack on globalisation and radical Islam. The candidate of the National Front (FN) told supporters in the eastern city of Lyon that globalisation was slowly choking communities to death. Her party is promising to offer France a referendum on EU membership if a renegotiation of terms fails. France goes to the polls on 23 April in one of the most open races in decades. BBC

US To Buy More F-35 Fighter Jets From Lockheed Martin
In December, newly-elected US President Donald Trump said the cost of the Pentagon's most expensive defence programme was "out of control". The new order, 90 jets for $8.5bn, brings the price of each aircraft to about $95m, down from a previous $102m. Lockheed said Mr Trump had "sharpened our focus on driving down the price". The US government expects to spend close to $400bn in the coming decades to develop and buy 2,443 of the supersonic fighter jets. BBC

US President 'Doesn't Care About Making A Speech' On UK State Visit
Government officials involved in the planning of Donald Trump’s state visit to Britain believe he is not interested in addressing MPs and peers, and instead wants to focus on the pomp and ceremony afforded to foreign leaders. Sources have told the Guardian that the US president’s team have expressed no desire to speak in Westminster Hall, or another venue within parliament. The British government is also wary of issuing such an invitation because of the likelihood that MPs could boycott the event, leaving the room half empty, and that protests outside parliament would drown out any speech. One source said speaking to politicians inside parliament would represent the “ultimate establishment” act, and go against what Trump stands for. Guardian

Malcolm Turnbull Says Trump Phone Call Worked In Australia's Favour
Malcolm Turnbull says his infamous phone call with US president Donald Trump last week has worked in Australia’s favour, because it inspired “dozens and dozens” of US congressmen to publicly support the Australia-US alliance. He has also admitted the Liberal party has been in serious financial trouble for a number of years, saying that is why he donated $1.75m to the party during the 2016 election campaign. “It is a big challenge that we face,” he told Channel Nine on Sunday. “The corporate sector, particularly public companies, are much more reluctant to make political donations to anybody and we face enormous financial resources from the unions and Labor, so there is no question we are at a massive disadvantage financially these days,” he said. Guardian

The View From Donald Trump Country: In Western Kansas, The Travel Ban Feels Like Common Sense
In Wallace County, on the High Plains of Western Kansas, a friendly conversation is likely to end in a warning: "be careful". The plains seems to stretch endlessly, and are dotted with small towns corresponding to stops on a freight rail line. Some 1,500 people are spread across nearly 1000 square miles, and just 45 of them voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, making Wallace the reddest county in one of America's reddest states. In Sharon Springs, the county's largest town with 761 residents, locals talk about immigrants and liberals in much the same way: "No, not here, but I hear there are some a couple towns over." Telegraph

Donald Trump Says Americans Should Hold Judge Who Blocked Travel Ban Responsible If US Is Attacked
President Donald Trump has declared that the judge who blocked his travel ban will be responsible if America is attacked. Mr Trump said Judge James Robart had placed America in "peril", by allowing citizens of seven Muslim majority countries that had been barred from entering the US to come "pouring in" to the country. Meanwhile the Trump administration says it will use “every legal means” to reinstate Mr Trump’s executive order on refugees and immigration, but will comply with the judge’s order as the legal battle continues. Telegraph

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