NEWS   THURSDAY, MARCH  2, 2017   NEWS

Ex-Clinton Volunteer Slammed, Loses Job, After Swipe At Widow Of Fallen SEAL
A former Hillary Clinton volunteer drew swift condemnation -- and lost his job -- after mocking the widow of a fallen Navy SEAL who was honored by the president during his congressional address Tuesday night. Dan Grilo, who said in his Twitter profile that he was a former volunteer for both Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, made the remarks after Trump paid tribute to Carryn Owens. She is the widow of U.S. Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens, who was killed in a counterterrorism raid in Yemen last month. “Our veterans have delivered for this nation—and now we must deliver for them,” Trump said, eliciting an extended standing ovation from the entire chamber for a visibly emotional Owens. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Plain stupidity.

Pentagon Looks At Authorizing Some Raids Without White House Approval
Military commanders are discussing speeding up the authorization of counterterrorism missions by allowing the Pentagon or even field commanders to approve some of them rather than the White House, US defense officials told CNN. As CNN first reported Tuesday, the military is seeking to increase US intelligence-gathering raids in Yemen similar to one undertaken in the first week of the Trump presidency. It's not yet clear if this adjustment in the approval process could be used for those operations. CNN
VOA VIEW: CNN info is not reliable.

World's Oldest Microfossils Found, Researchers Claim
Scientists claim to have discovered the remains of microorganisms in Canada that are at least 3.77 billion years old. If they are proven to have a biological origin, they would be the oldest microfossils ever found. The discovery comprises tiny filaments and tubes formed by bacteria that lived on iron, according to a statement released Wednesday by University College London. They were found in quartz layers in the Nuvvuagittuq Supracrustal Belt in Quebec, Canada, which contains some of the Earth's oldest known sedimentary rocks, it said. "Our discovery supports the idea that life emerged from hot, seafloor vents shortly after planet Earth formed," said Matthew Dodd, a researcher at UCL Earth Sciences and the London Center for Nanotechnology and one of the report's authors. CNN

Teamsters Go After Drug Wholesaler AmerisourceBergen After Opioid Crisis Hits Their Homes
Standing before his fellow Teamsters in June, Travis Bornstein shared the story of his 23-year-old son, an accomplished golfer and bodybuilder who became addicted to prescription pain pills after elbow surgery and eventually succumbed to a heroin overdose in an empty field. For the next two hours at the national meeting in Las Vegas, truckers, dockworkers, and warehousemen told of losing aunts, nephews, and fathers to addiction. Newly focused on an issue that is ravaging its members, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters on Thursday plans to challenge one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical wholesalers, demanding that AmerisourceBergen Corp. investigate its own sales practices and potential supply chain diversions, and factor compliance into its executives’ pay. Philadelphia Inquirer

Holder: Obama Preparing To Get Back Into Political Spotlight
Former President Obama is getting ready to jump back into the political pool, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday. Holder said he has been talking with Obama about different ways to help the new National Democratic Redistricting Committee, according to Politico. Obama asked Holder to be chairman of the group last year. “He’s ready to roll,” Holder told reporters at a briefing. NY Post
VOA VIEW: Obama and Holder are losers.

Fukushima Cleanup Chief Urges Better Use Of Probe Robot
The head of decommissioning for the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant said Thursday that more creativity is needed in developing robots to locate and assess the condition of melted fuel rods. A robot sent inside the Unit 2 containment vessel last month could not reach as close to the core area as was hoped for because it was blocked by deposits, believed to be a mixture of melted fuel and broken pieces of structures inside. Naohiro Masuda, president of Fukushima Dai-ichi Decommissioning, said he wants another probe sent in before deciding on methods to remove the reactor's debris. Tampa Tribune

Obama First President Since Great Depression Not To See 3% GDP Growth
With the Bureau of Economic Analysis reporting on Tuesday that real Gross Domestic Product grew at an estimated 1.6 percent in 2016, President Barack Obama remains the first president since the Great Depression not to see a single year with at least 3 percent growth in real GDP. The economic contraction that started what is known as the Great Depression began in August 1929, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. That contraction ended in March 1933. Depending on how you measure the Great Depression, it either ended then or seven or eight years later near the beginning of World War II. But whichever date is picked, the Great Depression ended in a year in which Franklin Roosevelt served as president, and Obama remains the only president since then not to see a year of 3 percent economic growth. CNS News

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General Says Russia Bombed Site Near US Forces In Syria In ISIS Fight
Russian air forces bombed a site perilously close to U.S. troops in Syria on Tuesday, a near-miss in the fog of war against the Islamic State -- though the strikes still hit U.S.-backed forces. U.S. Lt. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend said Wednesday the incident occurred after Russian pilots began bombing what they thought were ISIS fighters in a “bunch of villages” in northern Syria. They ended up hitting forces with the U.S.-backed Syrian Arab Coalition. Fox News

Critics Of Trump’s Executive Order On HBCUs ‘May Be Embarrassed’ Because Obama ‘Didn’t Do More For These Institutions’
Omarosa Manigault, who serves as assistant to the president and director of communications in the Office of Public Liaison and attended three HBCUs, told NBCBLK on Wednesday that detractors of the president’s executive order establishing the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and moving it under direct purview of the White House “may be embarrassed” because the Obama administration “didn’t do more for these institutions.” "There's always going to be detractors. A lot of that stems from folks that came from the previous administration that may be a little embarrassed that they didn't do more for these institutions. Under the previous administration I go as far as to say that having 28,000 HBCU students have to drop out because of decisions with Parent PLUS loans and with Pell grants it probably was a huge embarrassment for them," Manigault was quoted as saying. CNS News
VOA VIEW: Trump may be embarrased if the blacks don't do better.

New Trump Travel Order Expected In Coming Days, Pence Says
U.S. President Donald Trump plans to finalize a new order limiting travel to the United States in the coming days, his vice president said on Wednesday, after federal courts blocked the administration's earlier travel ban. A White House source had previously said the new order was likely to be announced on Wednesday. More than two dozen lawsuits were filed in U.S. courts against the Jan. 27 travel ban, which temporarily barred entry to the United States for people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, as well as halting the U.S. refugee program. Reuters

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No Change To Mortgage Interest Deduction In Trump Tax Plan
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday the Trump administration's tax reform plan will not change the deductibility of mortgage interest and charitable contributions. "Let me first clarify, we are not taking away the charitable deduction and we are leaving the mortgage interest deduction as is," Mnuchin said in an interview on Fox Business Network. "We think those are both very, very important. But what we are going to do is we are looking at other things where the reduction in deductions will offset the rate," he said. Reuters

Eastern U.S. Still Under Threat After Deadly Storms, Tornadoes In Midwest
Severe storms that raked parts of the Midwest, spawning nearly two dozen tornadoes and killing at least three people, were rolling across the eastern part of the country Wednesday, taking aim at some of the region's biggest cities. The National Weather Service said an area up and down the East Coast from Georgia to Pennsylvania was at significant risk of severe thunderstorms late Wednesday afternoon into Thursday. The region includes Philadelphia, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Charlotte, North Carolina, and is home to about 26 million people overall. The storms caused notable wind damage. Strong winds downed trees and power lines in the Washington area, where almost 32,000 customers were without power late Wednesday afternoon in the capital and its Virginia and Maryland suburbs. MSNBC

Series Of US Airstrikes In Central Yemen
A series of U.S. airstrikes targeted alleged al-Qaida positions in central Yemen early Thursday, leaving at least four militants dead, Yemeni officials said. The officials told The Associated Press that U.S. jets and drones targeted the district of al-Sawmaa in the province of Bayda. One media official in the province said that a total of 23 airstrikes were carried out by U.S. jets. A second official said four al-Qaida militants were killed in the airstrikes. The Yemeni officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak to the media. Tampa Tribune

Sessions Did Not Disclose Contact With Russian Ambassador, Justice Dept. Says
Prior to his nomination as attorney general last year, then-Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions met with the Russian ambassador to the United States, but did not disclose the contacts during questioning during his contentious confirmation, Justice Department officials confirmed late Wednesday. Sessions, who took office last month as the nation's chief law enforcement officer, met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak twice last year — in July and September — while the FBI investigated Russia's meddling in the U.S. election. Sessions' meetings with the ambassador were confirmed by his spokeswoman, Sarah Isgur Flores, and another Justice Department official, who is not authorized to comment publicly. USA Today
VOA VIEW: Another Democrat attack.

Trump Finally Gets A Presidential Fashion Makeover, Matching His More Polished Speech To Congress
Goodbye, super-long, fiery red inauguration tie. Hello, more presidential-looking Trump. When President Trump arrived for his first joint address to Congress Tuesday night, he opted for a more stylish look than we've seen in the past: tailored jacket,  shortened sleeves, tie of appropriate length, one button buttoned. It's an aesthetic upgrade from the baggy suit, too-long sleeves and giant red tie he has favored -- a typical look for men who work on Capitol Hill, so dominated by ill-fitting suits that it's a long-running stereotype.  On Tuesday night, however, Trump's jacket was nipped at the waist. The buttoning of a single button also created a slimming effect. His sleeves were taken up several inches, elongating his frame. The French cuffs, and cufflinks, stayed the same, but were more visible. USA Today

Kellyanne Conway Explains Why She Was Kneeling On Oval Office Couch
Kellyanne Conway wants the couch issue put to bed. The counselor to the president said she had simply been asked to take a picture from a specific angle when she was photographed sitting on an Oval Office couch with her legs folded beneath her — shoes pressed against the upholstery — during President Donald Trump's Tuesday meeting with leaders from historically black colleges and universities. Conway addressed the photo, which went viral on Tuesday, on Fox Business Network's "Lou Dobbs Tonight" after some observers suggested the sitting position was a sign of disrespect. Although she said she didn't follow the debate over the image due to a "busy day" ahead of Trump's Congressional address, she said a few reports showed that she was positioned on the couch in order to get the perfect picture of the meeting. MSNBC

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Fewer IRS Audits Doesn't Mean You're Home Free
For the fifth year in a row, IRS audits of individual tax returns have declined. In 2010, the chances of having your return selected for audit was one in 90. In 2016, that fell to one in 143, the lowest since 2003. Audits have tumbled even for higher-income taxpayers. Last year the IRS audited just 5.8 percent of the returns that included income over $1 million, down from 9.6 percent in 2015.  The reason for shrinkage in audits -- a primary IRS enforcement tool -- is that the agency is too short-staffed. Over the past several years, Congress has been freezing and cutting the IRS’s budget in the wake of the agency’s abusive targeting of political groups. This occurred at a time when the agency’s workload climbed due to tax code changes and a surge in fraud and identity theft. CBS

Rosie O'Donnell Leads Anti-Trump Protest In DC Before Congressional Address
Rosie O'Donnell, one of Donald Trump's most outspoken rivals, accused the president of being a lying, power-hungry misogynist during a protest near the White House Tuesday ahead of his joint address to Congress. "This is not Russia," said O’Donnell. "To Donald Trump and his pathetic band of white, privileged criminal businessmen, I would like to say to him, 'nyet, sir.'" The actress and former talk show host added, "Government are instituted among men, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed. And whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter and abolish it and to institute new government. That is why we are here!" ABC
VOA VIEW: O'Donnell needs to get a life.

Bill Would Make Welfare Of Pets A Factor In Divorce Cases
A Rhode Island lawmaker has introduced a bill that would require judges to take the best interests of domestic pets into account when deciding who gets custody in a divorce. Democratic state Rep. Charlene Lima told The Providence Journal ( http://bit.ly/2lWonz7 ) on Tuesday that pets are a big part of people's families, and a judge should make the best decision for the welfare of the animal. Pets are considered property under the current Rhode Island divorce law. The newspaper reports that Alaska became the first state this year to add a law considering the interest of pets in divorces. ABC

Next Up In The Senate: Ben Carson, Slated For HUD Vote
The next Trump administration Cabinet nominee up for a vote in the Senate is celebrated neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Approval is expected when senators vote Thursday on President Donald Trump's choice to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Carson has no government or housing policy experience, and Democrats were critical early on about his credentials. Despite that, he won unanimous support in a Senate committee vote in January. On Wednesday, Carson cleared a Senate hurdle when lawmakers voted, 62-37, to move his nomination to a final vote. Also Wednesday, Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke won Senate confirmation as President Donald Trump's Interior secretary. With his approval, the Senate has confirmed 16 out of 22 of Trump's Cabinet and Cabinet-level nominations. Houston Chronicle

Sweden Reintroduces Military Draft For First Time In 7 Years
Sweden's left-leaning government is reintroducing a military draft for both men and women because of what Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist calls a deteriorating security environment in Europe and around Sweden. The country did away with the draft seven years ago, and at that point only men were eligible. Under the plan approved Thursday, at least 4,000 18-year-olds could be called up each year, starting Jan. 1. The policy affects residents born after 1999. As in the current system, Swedes will still be able to volunteer for military service. Charlotte Observer
VOA VIEW: Men and women.

Nissan Faces Safety Fine In Mississippi As Union Rally Looms
A federal workplace safety agency wants to fine Nissan Motor Co. more than $21,000, saying the company's Mississippi plant should have better trained a maintenance worker who lost three fingers in July. The citations were issued weeks before a Saturday rally to support unionization by the United Auto Workers, where pro-union speakers are likely to denounce the company's safety record. Nissan, though, defends its safety record as "significantly" better than average. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in proposed citations Feb. 10, said the company failed because the worker didn't know how to disable the line before he tried to work on it. OSHA also demanded that Nissan install buzzers and lights that would warn workers before a conveyor line started. Charlotte Observer

Trump May Ignore World Trade Organization In Major Shift Of U.S. Trade Policy
The Trump administration on Wednesday announced a sharp break from U.S. trade policy, vowing it may ignore certain rulings by the World Trade Organization if those decisions infringe on U.S. sovereignty. The new trade approach, which was sent to Congress on Wednesday, could affect businesses and consumers worldwide, with the White House suggesting the United States could unilaterally impose tariffs against countries it thinks have unfair trade practices - paving the way for a more adversarial relationship with China and other trading partners - and punish companies that relocate overseas and then attempt to sell products on the U.S. market. San Diego Union

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White House Said To Kick Off Infrastructure Planning Thursday
President Donald Trump’s administration will convene a meeting of at least 15 federal agencies Thursday as a first government-wide step toward crafting the president’s $1 trillion infrastructure initiative, a senior White House official said. Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, will lead the meeting, which will focus on identifying new projects that would boost the economy; finding existing projects, such as the Keystone XL pipeline, that could be expedited; targeting policies, outdated rules and laws that could delay projects; and developing funding and financing options, the official said. Bloomberg

Republicans Hide New Obamacare Draft Under Shroud Of Secrecy
House Republican leaders have a new version of their major Obamacare repeal and replacement bill. They just don’t want you to see it. The document is being treated a bit like a top-secret surveillance intercept. It is expected to be available to members and staffers on the House and Energy Commerce panel starting Thursday, but only in a dedicated reading room, one Republican lawmaker and a committee aide said. Nobody will be given copies to take with them. The unusual secrecy is a reflection of the sensitivity -- and the stakes -- surrounding the GOP effort to rewrite the Affordable Care Act, a top priority of President Donald Trump, who has yet to offer his own plan. Bloomberg

Republicans In Pence’s Indiana Warn Of Health Repeal Fallout
Republican legislative leaders in Indiana are warning that repealing the Affordable Care Act could unravel a program for poor residents that Vice President Mike Pence implemented as governor, a conservative blueprint for expanding Medicaid under the federal law. Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma and GOP Senate leader David Long both said this week that tens of thousands of poor people could lose their insurance if Republicans in Washington enact some of the ideas they're discussing for repealing President Barack Obama's signature health care law. "It's reality hitting home," Long, a Republican from Fort Wayne, said Wednesday. "... The issue of the working poor is real. It's not going to be easy." Las Vegas Sun

Trump Gives GOP Leaders Rallying Cry, Roadmap For Change
President Donald Trump gave Republican congressional leaders a rallying cry and even a roadmap as they try to push through a sweeping and divisive agenda on health care, taxes and more. In his first address to a joint session of Congress, Trump said largely what GOP leaders were hoping to hear Tuesday night, staying on-message and talking in optimistic tones, even weighing in at one point to settle a brewing dispute over how to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Boston Globe
VOA VIEW: Democrats could not punch a legitimate whole in Trump's speech.

Georgia Lawmakers Weigh Whether To Levy Tax On Uber, Lyft Rides
Uber is urging Georgia lawmakers to slam the brakes on a House proposal that would levy a 4 percent state sales tax on each trip with ride-hailing services, as well as allow cities to levy their own fees. Uber sent an email to thousands of its riders this week under the heading “stop your Uber prices from going up” that urged them to tell lawmakers to vote down House Bill 225. The measure cleared a committee this week and is expected to reach a vote before the full House on Friday, the final day for a bill to move from one chamber to the other this year. It would apply to Lyft and other ride-hailing services. Atlanta Journal

Nations Pledge Millions For Family Planning After Trump Ban
Nations pledged tens of millions of dollars for family planning programs Thursday at an international conference in Brussels to make up for the gap left by President Donald Trump's ban on U.S. funding to groups linked to abortion. Some 50 governments attended the hastily convened one-day conference. Early on, total pledges were already exceeding 100 million dollars, with Sweden, Canada and Finland each promising 20 million euros ($21 million). Houston Chronicle

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Trump’s Foreign Policy Becoming Increasingly Risk Averse
President Donald Trump is tiptoeing around U.S. military engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq, and dialing back the threats of abandoning allies. It seems Trump is opting for an increasingly risk-averse approach to the world. Although he vowed an aggressive new Iran posture and at one point questioned even basic U.S. policy to China, the new president has been slow to outline policies to back up the swagger. He's curtailed his nerve-rattling rhetoric about NATO and even his pledges of new cooperation with Russia. And in his first speech to a joint session of Congress, Trump didn't even mention the nation's two long wars or echo the ritual declarations of American global leadership of Republican and Democratic presidents past. Las Vegas Sun

Super-Fast Computer Made From DNA 'Grows As It Computes'
Scientists have used DNA molecules to create a new, super-fast computer that is capable of "growing as it computes." The research, detailed in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, is the first to prove the feasibility of a nondeterministic universal Turing machine, or NUTM. Until now, such a computing entity existed only in theory. "Imagine a computer is searching a maze and comes to a choice point, one path leading left, the other right," Ross D. King, a professor of computer science at the University of Manchester, explained in a news release. "Electronic computers need to choose which path to follow first. But our new computer doesn't need to choose, for it can replicate itself and follow both paths at the same time, thus finding the answer faster." UPI

Trump Signs Bills Promoting Women In STEM, Rescinding Obama Gun Rule
Donald Trump signed three bills, two of which aim to promote women in the STEM fields and one rescinding a rule established under former President Barack Obama blocking gun sales to some mentally ill people. Trump signed the bills into law on Tuesday. H.R. 255 -- the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act -- calls on the National Science Foundation to "recruit and support women to expand their focus into the commercial world in its entrepreneurial programs," the White House said in a statement. H.R. 321 -- the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act -- requires NASA to encourage women and girls to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics, to pursue careers in aerospace and to advance the United States' space exploration efforts. UPI

Oprah Joins Kanye, Zuckerberg And Other Celebrities In Considering Presidential Run
President Donald Trump has been in office for just over a month, but already the speculation about who might challenge him for reelection in 2020 has begun. But besides the typical lists of senators, representatives and other public servants who might pursue the Democratic nomination in a few years, there has been a notable increase in the number of potential candidates from the private sector, including quite a few celebrities. Trump’s success as a politician has given these people a newfound legitimacy. Here is a full list of people with no experience in public service who could potentially run for president in 2020, either as a Democrat or an independent. Kansas City Star
VOA VIEW: Oprah can jump if she feels like a rabbit.

From K-12 To Higher Ed: Education Reforms Will Drive Lawmakers’ Agenda
Every level of Florida’s public education system — affecting kindergarten to university students — faces some measure of drastic reform in the upcoming legislative session that begins Tuesday. Just some of what’s on the table: ? “Dramatic” expansions of school choice alternatives in K-12 public schools and the state’s voucher-like scholarship programs are a top priority of Republican House Speaker Richard Corcoran. His education chairmen also have grand goals of narrowing the achievement gap for the state’s lowest-performing schools by attracting and expanding innovative educational options. Miami Herald

Florida looks to expand 'stand your ground' immunity
Florida doesn't just want to let people stand their ground, it also wants to make the state prove they didn't commit violence in self-defense before taking them to trial.
Florida has been seen as a leader in giving citizens immunity in cases of self-defense, its "stand your ground" law serving as an emotional point of debate after several high-profile shooting deaths, including that of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin. While at least 22 states have similar laws that say people can use force — even deadly force — to defend themselves from threats, Florida could soon be the only one that spells out that prosecutors have to prove defendants weren't acting in self-defense before taking someone to trial. SF Gate

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ANTISEMITIC ACTS IN US GAIN ATTENTION OF NETANYAHU, OTHER ISRAELI LEADERS
Israeli leaders are increasingly speaking out against the rise in antisemitic incidents in the US, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – who came under some criticism for not publicly commenting on the matter – saying on Wednesday that antisemitism is alive and world leaders need to clearly condemn it. “Antisemitism certainly has not disappeared, but there is much we can do to fight back,” he said in a video message to a conference of the Jewish People Policy Institute being held in Jerusalem. “World leaders need to unequivocally condemn antisemitism wherever it is found.” Jerusalem Post

US COMMUNICATIONS AGENCY CONSIDERS HELPING IN PROBE OF JEWISH CENTER THREATS
Communications Commission said on Wednesday it was exploring what it could do to help law enforcement track down who has made telephone threats to nearly 100 Jewish Community Centers across the United States in recent months. Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, on Wednesday urged FCC chairman Ajit Pai to grant a waiver to access phone numbers used to call in threats and "help bring criminals to justice." Jerusalem Post

Syria Conflict: All Parties Committed War Crimes In Aleppo
UN human rights investigators say Syrian civilians fell victim to war crimes committed by all parties during the battle for Aleppo last year. Daily air strikes by Syria's government and its ally Russia claimed hundreds of lives, according to a new report. Government forces also dropped chlorine bombs, resulting in hundreds of civilian casualties, it alleges. Rebels are meanwhile accused of firing shells indiscriminately at government-held areas and of using human shields. BBC

Palmyra: Syrian Forces 'Enter' IS-Held Town
Syrian government forces have entered the ancient city of Palmyra, pushing back militants from so-called Islamic State (IS), activists say. The troops and their allies, backed by Russian air strikes, have reportedly seized part of a neighbourhood in the west of the city. The jihadists recaptured the Unesco-listed archaeological site in December from government forces. Parts of the ancient city have been destroyed by the militants. There were clashes and heavy shelling across the historic city as the offensive unfolded, the UK-based monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. BBC

Trump Starts To Sound 'Presidential' But Critics Warn He's Still Anything But
Donald Trump basked in the praise of political allies and some pundits on Wednesday after delivering his first speech to Congress with a more measured tone than usual, and the promise of a “new chapter of American greatness”. But Democrats warned against any step towards normalising a president who is anything but. Trump merely showed that he can read from a teleprompter without insulting someone, they argued, and was still guilty of making claims that were false, lacked detail or were as divisive as ever. Guardian

Government Vows To Overturn EU Citizens Vote After Lords Defeat
Theresa May’s government has vowed to overturn a demand by the House of Lords to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK within three months of article 50 being triggered. Ministers were said to “disappointed” by a heavy defeat in which peers voted 358 to 256 in favour of amending the Brexit bill, but made clear that their position would not change on the issue. Seven Conservatives including the former cabinet minister Douglas Hogg lined up with the Labour party, Liberal Democrats and crossbenchers to demand formal reassurances for more than 3 million Europeans already resident in Britain. Guardian

UK Should Use 2018 World Cup To 'Repair Relationship' With Moscow
Britain should use the 2018 World Cup in Russia to repair ties with Moscow and consider whether to send ministers and VIPs to the tournament, a new report has said.
The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee says in a report released today that the tournament should not be boycotted but used to “enhance and repair the wider relationship between the UK and Russia,” despite concerns about human rights, the rule of law, and state sponsored doping.Telegraph

Who Is Stephen Miller, The 31-Year-Old Senior Adviser Who Helped Craft Donald Trump's Speech To Congress?
Stephen Miller’s remarkably rapid rise to become one of the most influential figures in the White House begun, perhaps surprisingly, in liberal Santa Monica. The California native, who is believed to have helped craft Donald Trump's first speech to Congress and the controversial travel ban, crystalised his ideology while at high school. He took to ringing his local radio stations to rail against multiculturalism and the usage of Spanish-language announcements, and wrote for his high school newspaper a column entitled “A Time to Kill”, urging violent response to radical Islamists. Telegraph

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