Republicans Want To Know Why Trump Hasn't Fired The IRS Head
Nearly two months into the Trump administration, the IRS commissioner House Republicans once threatened with impeachment remains on the job. John Koskinen's continued tenure may be surprising, considering how aggressively Republicans went after him under the Obama administration. But despite a sustained push by congressional Republicans to oust the IRS chief before his five-year term expires this November, President Trump so far has made no move to do so. Just last week, Koskinen was seen in the Capitol and told Fox News he was there to meet with “old friends.” Asked if he intended to stay on as commissioner during the Trump administration, Koskinen simply said, “They haven’t talked to me.” Fox News
VOA VIEW: Koskinen should go.

Venezuelans Passports In Short Supply As Millions Try To Flee Troubled Nation
Along with basic food, medicine and even toilet paper, Venezuela now lacks the materials to meet to the soaring demand for new passports – making it almost impossible for those few Venezuelans with the monetary means of escaping the troubled Latin American nation to do so. While estimates of how many passport requests the socialist government received last year vary from between 1.8 million to 3 million, only 300,000 of the elusive documents were doled out. Everyday, hundreds of people line up outside the passport agency, known as Saime, in the capital of Caracas in the hopes of obtaining one. Fox News

Washington State Asks Judge To Block New Trump Travel Ban
Washington state will ask a federal judge Thursday to block President Donald Trump's new travel ban, joining Hawaii as the second state to challenge the executive order. Bob Ferguson, Washington state's attorney general, said that despite the significant changes to the President's previous executive order, the new travel ban still suffers from legal flaws. "The revised executive order does narrow" its impact, but "there is still harm," Ferguson said in a news conference on Thursday. "This is effectively a Muslim ban." CNN
VOA VIEW: Expected from CNN and the Washington State AG.

Does Border Drop Mean Trump's Tough Talk Is Working?
Illegal Southwest border crossings were down 40% last month, according to just released Customs and Border Protection numbers -- a sign that President Donald Trump's hardline rhetoric and policies on immigration may be having a deterrent effect. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly himself announced the month-to-month numbers, statistics that CBP usually quietly posts on its website without fanfare. According to CBP data, the 40% drop in illegal Southwest border crossings from January to February is far outside normal seasonal trends. Typically, the January to February change is actually an increase of 10% to 20%. CNN
VOA VIEW: Great!


Democrat Suggests Trump May Benefit From Tanning Salon Provision Of Republicans' Health Care Bill
The Democrats' effort to get a look at President Trump's tax returns spilled into the health care debate on Wednesday. At the House Ways and Means Committee mark-up of the Republican health care bill, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) introduced, for the second time in recent weeks, an amendment that would allow the committee to review Trump's tax returns in closed session. Among other things, Doggett argued that Trump stands to enrich himself from some of the provisions in the Republicans’ health care bill: Pointing to a "recent analysis by...a series of reporters," Doggett said Trump "personally stands to rake in almost $7 million from two giant tax breaks that are in this bill. And as we get the tanning salon section, we can explore whether there's one of those down in Mar-a-Lago or one of his other resorts, and he's going to benefit even from the tanning provisions here...And so I think it's important to adopt this amendment." CNS
VOA VIEW: Democrats go at any lengths to get what they want.

CBO Says U.S. Has Highest Top Statutory Corporate Tax Rate In G20
The United States has the highest top statutory corporate tax rate—39.1%--of any nation in the G20, according to a study released Wednesday by the Congressional Budget Office. That rate is nearly twice as high as the 20-percent rate in Russia, which, along with Saudi Arabia and Turkey, has the lowest statutory corporate tax rate in the G20. The U.S. won the top spot on the statutory-corporate-tax-rate list after Japan and Germany, which formerly ranked first and second, cut their rates. “The United States made no change in federal corporate tax rates between 2003 and 2012,” said the CBO, “and by 2012, it had the highest top statutory rate in the G20.” CNS
VOA VIEW: Pitiful!

Washington Restaurant Sues Trump Over Alleged Unfair Hotel Competition
A Washington restaurant has sued U.S. President Donald Trump and the company that operates his landmark Washington hotel, claiming that patrons have shifted business there to curry favor with his new administration, the owners said on Thursday. The suit, which was filed on Wednesday, does not seek monetary damages but wants Trump to divest from the hotel, resign or close it while he is president. Diane Gross and Khalid Pitts, the husband-and-wife owners of the Cork Wine Bar, claim they and other businesses face unfair competition from the Trump International Hotel, which opened in September a few weeks before Trump was elected. Reuters


FCC Probes Why AT&T Customers Could Not Call 911
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said on Thursday it will investigate why AT&T wireless subscribers in several states could not make emergency 911 calls late Wednesday. The FCC has previously fined carriers that had 911 outages that it deemed preventable and required steps to prevent further outages. A person briefed on the matter said a software glitch apparently caused the outage, which lasted a few hours and spanned at least 10 states. Reuters

Obamacare Creators Tell GOP: We Told You So
President Donald Trump said last week that "nobody knew that health care could be so complicated." But the aides and advisers who worked on health care for Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — they knew. "Maybe I should just say karma is a serious thing," said Neera Tanden, who was a top health official in the Obama administration. "Health care is hard. Governing is hard. And Republicans are now living with the fruits of never putting forward a plan and making promises they can't keep." MSNBC
VOA VIEW: Giveaway and stupid programs are hard to abolish.

Julian Assange Says WikiLeaks May Release More CIA Hacking Tools
WikiLeaks is considering releasing more CIA hacking tools if internet security professionals can first help make sure the cyber weapons can't be used any further, the group's founder, Julian Assange, said Thursday. Assange ridiculed the CIA for failing to guard information about its online arsenal, allowing it to be passed around within the intelligence community. That is how the material ended up in WikiLeaks' hands ? and, possibly, criminals', he said. The spy agency "didn't secure it, lost control of it and then appears to have covered up that fact," Assange said. MSNBC
VOA VIEW: Traitor!

Amal Clooney: Don't Let Islamic State Get Away With Genocide
Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney urged Iraq and the world's nations on Thursday not to let the Islamic State extremist group "get away with genocide." The wife of actor George Clooney, who represents victims of IS rapes and kidnappings, told a U.N. meeting that what's "shocking" is not just the group's brutality but the "passive" response by the world's nations to the campaign to investigate its crimes and bring the perpetrators to justice. Philadelphia Inquirer

Court Unanimously Ousts South Korea's Leader For Corruption
The decision capped a stunning fall for the country's first female leader, who rode a wave of lingering conservative nostalgia for her late dictator father to victory in 2012, only to see her presidency crumble as millions of furious protesters filled the nation's streets. Two people died during protests that followed the ruling. Police and hospital officials said about 30 protesters and police officers were injured in the violent clashes near the court, which prompted Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, the country's acting head of state, to plead for peace and urge Park's angry supporters to move on. The ruling opens Park up to possible criminal proceedings - prosecutors have already named her a criminal suspect - and makes her South Korea's first democratically elected leader to be removed from office since democracy replaced dictatorship in the late 1980s. Philadelphia Inquirer

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Japan To End 5-Year Peacekeeping Mission In South Sudan
Japan is ending its peacekeeping mission in troubled South Sudan after five years, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Friday. Abe told reporters that Japan would not renew the mission after the current rotation returns in May. The 350-person infrastructure team has been focused on road construction. The team that arrived in South Sudan in November was Japan's first to have an expanded mandate to use force if necessary to protect civilians and U.N. staff. The Japanese military's use of force is limited by its post-World War II constitution. Tampa Tribune

Use Daylight Saving Time As Wellness Wake-Up Call
Daylight saving time is not only a time to reset the clocks, but also a time to reset health goals. Springing ahead is a reminder to put a little more spring in your body. This is the time for a wellness reboot — a wake-up call to eat properly, exercise and create a safer and healthier way of living. This year, we set our clocks ahead one hour on Sunday and back one hour on Nov. 5. “Daylight saving time is the start of spring, and spring is an excellent time for growth,” says Christine Scalfo, a certified health and nutrition counselor. “Everything is sprouting and bursting forth, and our energy is expanding. We can take advantage of this energy and utilize it for our health goals.” USA Today

House Panel Says Trump’s Twitter Use Could Break Federal Record-Keeping Laws
President Trump’s prolific tweeting may now cause another headache for the White House — Congress’s top investigators said Thursday he may be breaking federal record-keeping laws if he’s not preserving all of his Twitter messages. In a letter to the White House, Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz and Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat, demanded to know whether Mr. Trump’s long-standing personal account, @RealDonaldTrump, and the official White House account, @POTUS, are being archived properly. “It has been reported … that President Trump has deleted tweets, and if those tweets were not archived it could pose a violation of the Presidential Records Act,” the congressmen said. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: They are all public.

Trump Vows To ‘Spare No Effort’ To Find American Missing In Iran For 10 Years
The White House said President Trump is “unwavering” in his determination to bring home CIA contractor Robert Levinson, who went missing in Iran 10 years ago on Thursday. “We want him back, and we will spare no effort to achieve that goal,” said White House press secretary Sean Spicer. Mr. Levinson, a former FBI agent who would turn 69 tomorrow, vanished from Kish Island, Iran, while reportedly investigating cigarette smuggling in the Middle East. Iranian officials have insisted they don’t have any information about his whereabouts or his fate. Washington Times

EPA Chief Says Carbon Dioxide Not A Primary Cause Of Global Warming
The new chief of the Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday he does not believe that carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming, a statement at odds with mainstream scientific consensus and his own agency. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said measuring the effect of human activity on the climate is “very challenging” and that “there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact” of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. “So, no, I would not agree that (carbon dioxide) is a primary contributor to the global warming that we see,” Pruitt told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” Pruitt’s view is contrary to mainstream climate science, including NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the EPA itself. CBS

Megyn Kelly Wants To Be The Next Oprah
Megyn Kelly grew tired of combative hard news reporting and now wants “to help people the way Oprah did” on her new NBC show, sources tell Page Six. After signing a deal with NBC worth between $12 million and $15 million, Kelly’s plans for her new show have been shrouded in secrecy. NBC brass are interviewing executive producers in the hopes that Kelly will debut in September at either 9?or 10?a.m. in front of a live studio audience. NY Post
VOA VIEW: NBC overpaid - Kelly is a nothing.

Washington AG Says Order Blocking Trump’s First Travel Ban Should Apply To New One
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson will try to block President Donald Trump’s latest travel-ban executive order by returning to the same judge who halted the first version. Ferguson said his office will ask U.S. District Judge James Robart to confirm that the Feb. 3 injunction against Trump’s initial travel ban also applies to similar portions of the president’s new order, which restricts travel for people from six Muslim-majority nations. “The revised executive order does narrow the scope of who is impacted by it, but that does not mean it has cured its constitutional problems,” Ferguson, a Democrat, said at a news conference Thursday in Seattle. Seattle Time

Palestinian Leader, President Trump To Hold First Phone Call
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will speak Friday by telephone with U.S. President Donald Trump in the first contact between the two leaders since Trump took office in January. Trump's planned phone call to Abbas was revealed in a White House notice. Abbas has spent many hours on the phone and in meetings with U.S. presidents and secretaries of state over the past decade but he has been unsuccessful when reaching out to Trump. His office did not comment ahead of the call. Trump is unpopular among Palestinians because he appeared to break from his predecessor and adopt friendlier positions toward the Israeli government, including a vague stance on Palestinian statehood and a more lenient approach to settlements in territory claimed by the Palestinians. Tampa Tribune


Trump Administration Looks To Resume Arms Sale To Saudi Arabia
The Trump administration is moving toward approving the sale of more than $300 million in precision-guided missiles to Saudi Arabia, a decision that would reverse the Obama administration’s position on the deal from late last year. State Department officials confirmed to CBS News that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has officially signaled his approval of the sale, though the actual proposal is still going through the interagency process and must be approved by the National Security Council. Congress would then be notified of the sale -- it could face resistance among lawmakers there. CBS
VOA VIEW: Democrats are expected to do what they can to stop Trump.

Government Ethics Office 'Concerned' Over White House Decision Not To Discipline Kellyanne Conway
The director of the Office of Government Ethics said he is "concerned" over the White House's decision not to discipline Kellyanne Conway for promoting Ivanka Trump's brand in a television appearance. In a letter to White House deputy counsel Stefan Passantino, OGE director Walter Shaub said the White House failed to discipline Conway despite conduct that may have violated a federal ethics rule prohibiting "using one's official position to endorse any product or service." Shaub is referring to Conway's February 9 "Fox and Friends" appearance in which she encouraged viewers to "go buy Ivanka's stuff," following the decision by Nordstrom to pull Trump's clothing and accessory brand products from its shelves. CBS
VOA VIEW: Shaub should go.

Ex-Adviser's Tenuous Ties To Trump Campaign Draw Scrutiny
For months, President Donald Trump and his advisers have tried to distance themselves from Carter Page, a little-known investment banker who briefly served as a foreign policy adviser on the Republican's presidential campaign. This week, Page — who is at the center of the swirling controversy over Trump associates' connections to Russia — painted himself as a recurrent visitor to Trump Tower, the New York skyscraper that housed Trump's campaign offices. "I have frequently dined in Trump Grill, had lunch in Trump Café, had coffee meetings in the Starbucks at Trump Tower, attended events and spent many hours in campaign headquarters on the fifth floor last year," Page wrote in a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia's hacking of Democratic groups and possible campaign contacts with Moscow. Houston Chronicle

Radiation Not Biggest Impact On Fukushima Health
Experts say the number is many times higher than is typically found in Japan through touch and visual examination, although thyroid irregularities have been found at similar rates in children in three areas of the country. The doctors said more thyroid cancer cases were found because of the blanket screening, not the radiation that leaked from the plant. They say evacuees' stress and changing lifestyles have prompted obesity and diabetes, increasing the risk of strokes and heart problems. "Those thyroid cases have been found because we conducted the survey, not because of the radiation," said Akira Ohtsuru, an expert on radiation and thyroid ultrasound examination at the university. "The survey has caused over-diagnosis." Houston Chronicle

Trump Administration Announces Steps To Avoid Debt Default
The Trump administration is letting Congress know that it will begin taking steps next week to keep the government from an unprecedented default on the national debt.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a letter to lawmakers released Thursday that he will employ measures to avoid breaching the borrowing limit once the current suspension of the limit expires on March 16. Once that happens, Treasury will use a variety of bookkeeping maneuvers to continue to finance government operations, including making interest payments on the national debt. However, the Congressional Budget Office estimated in a report earlier this week that those measures will be exhausted by sometime in the fall. ABC
VOA VIEW: All an Obama default.

John Kerry, Former Secretary Of State, Writing Memoir
John Kerry, the former secretary of state, U.S. senator and presidential candidate, has a book deal. Kerry, 73, has signed with Simon & Schuster, the publisher told The Associated Press on Thursday. The book, a memoir covering his life from childhood through his recent time as secretary of state, does not yet have a title or release date. Financial terms were not disclosed. Kerry has been a public figure since the early 1970s, when he emerged as a spokesman for the Vietnam Veterans Against the War organization. The Massachusetts Democrat later served nearly 30 years in the senate and had an unsuccessful run for president in 2004, when he lost to the incumbent, George W. Bush. Boston Globe

NFL Teams Violated Federal Laws On Prescription Drugs, Court Filings Show
National Football League teams violated federal laws governing prescription drugs, disregarded guidance from the Drug Enforcement Administration on how to store, track, transport and distribute controlled substances, and plied their players with powerful painkillers and anti-inflammatories each season, according to sealed court documents contained in a federal lawsuit filed by former players. The sealed material, which was reviewed by The Washington Post, provides a rare look into the league's relationship with drugs and how team doctors manage the pain inherent in a bruising sport to keep players on the field. Charlotte Observer

India Extends Paid Maternity Leave To 26 Weeks. The U.S. Is Still At Zero.
India’s lawmakers passed a bill Thursday that mandates 26 weeks of paid maternity leave for women, upping the benefit from its previous 12-week level, according to media reports. The bill passed India’s upper chamber of Parliment, the Rajya Sabha, in August. It passed the lower house, the Lok Sabha, Thursday, after four hours of debate, much of it focused on paternal benefits. “This is my humble gift to women, a day after the world celebrated the International Women’s Day,” said Labor Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, according to NDTV. The new provisions only apply to a woman’s first two children. After that, the benefit is 12 weeks. They also only apply to women working in what is considered the organized sector of India’s economy, which accounts for about 10 percent of the country’s workers. Charlotte Observer
VOA VIEW: Pay is next to nothing.

Convicted Felons Can Upgrade Jail Cell For A Price
In Southern California, pay-to-stay jails collected nearly $7 million between 2011 and 2015, according to revenue figures provided by the cities. Some cities openly claim their facilities as safer, cleaner and have more modern amenities. This upgraded jail cell is not cheap. From 2011 through 2015, the average cost of a stay was $1,756, the Times reported. The most expensive stay, according to jail records, was $72,050, paid by a man responsible for a drunken freeway crash that killed one of his passengers. On average, defendants served 18 days in pay-to-stay jails, the analysis found. Atlanta Journal

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Doctors Tie Zika Virus To Heart Problems In Some Adults
For the first time, doctors have tied infection with the Zika virus to possible new heart problems in adults. The evidence so far is only in eight people in Venezuela, and is not enough to prove a link. It's also too soon to know how often this might be happening. The biggest trouble the mosquito-borne virus has been causing is for pregnant women and their fetuses. "I think as awareness increases, the cases will start to show up more," said Dr. Karina Gonzalez Carta, a Mayo Clinic research fellow working in Venezuela who investigated the heart cases. She discussed them on an American College of Cardiology press call, ahead of a presentation Saturday at the group's meeting in Washington. ABC

You Can’t Retire On The Trump Bump
U.S. stocks keep on booming, but they may not deliver the long-term returns many hope for. The S&P 500 has returned more than 11 percent since the election of President Trump on Nov. 8, adding a bit of renewed thrill to a bull market that’s already eight years old. Clearly, investors are feeling optimistic about the prospect for returns. But many companies that put individual investors’ money to work for the long run have been arguing for lower long-term expectations. That’s not a judgment on Trump or his economic policies—it’s about equity valuations and fundamentals that were in place before the election. Last year, Horizon Actuarial Services LLC surveyed 35 investment advising companies about their working assumptions for returns. On average, they anticipated annual returns from U.S. large-company stocks of about 7 percent for the next decade. Bloomberg

Trump Hires Three Men for Every Woman
Women have been named to 27 percent of the appointed roles filled by President Donald Trump so far, according to a Bloomberg News analysis of records newly released by the federal government. That number falls far short of overall representation in the U.S. labor force, where women account for 47 percent. The gender breakdown of Trump's first wave of appointees was based on a list of appointee names obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests by ProPublica. The nonprofit publication sent requests to the Office of Personnel Management and some two dozen federal agencies, though only six responded. The ProPublica list includes 436 people, mostly hired in late January, and doesn't include appointees who require Senate confirmation. The White Houses reportedly expected to appoint about 520 employees during a transitional period. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: Liberal BS.

O.J. Simpson Could Be Released As Early As October
O.J. Simpson could get out of prison later this year, if a pivotal parole hearing goes his way. The hearing will likely take place in July, according to David Smith, spokesman for the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners. Depending on the outcome, the "Juice" could be loose as soon as October 1. Previous ratings of Simpson have scored him in the low-risk category for release. Simpson -- who was famously acquitted in 1995 in the slayings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman -- has been serving out a nine-to-33-year sentence for his role in a 2007 incident that unfolded in a Las Vegas hotel room. He and armed associates allegedly confronted memorabilia dealers Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley and took pieces of Simpson's memorabilia from them. Simpson was convicted on charges including kidnapping, armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. Las Vegas Sun

Hillary Clinton Lights Up Social Media With A New Haircut
Hillary Clinton posted a Snapchat and gave a speech for International Women’s Day on Wednesday. She encouraged women to keep fighting for themselves. “Stand up. Resist. Run for office. Be a champion,” she said on Snapchat. Later, at the 16th anniversary of the Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., she made brief but passionate remarks to a group of female leaders. She said she’s been overwhelmed by the amount of public activism that’s erupted since the presidential election. “Never lose your optimism, your persistence and your resistance,” she challenged the largely female audience. Kansas City Star
VOA VIEW: Liberal media will say anything positive about Hillary.

Trump’s Border Wall Will Be Even More Useless Than Previously Thought
A new report on President Trump's proposed $21.6 billion wall on the border with Mexico is the clearest evidence I have seen so far that Trump's obsession with undocumented Mexican immigrants is based on false data, and is aimed at stirring up racial panic for political gain. Until now, most critics of Trump's planned border wall cited studies showing that about 40 percent of undocumented immigrants have not entered the country by sneaking across the U.S. border with Mexico, but arrived as tourists, and overstayed their visas. But a new study by the Center for Migration Studies, or CMS, titled "The 2,000 Mile Wall in Search of a Purpose," shows that the real percentage of visa overstayers is 66 percent, much more than previously thought. Miami Herald
VOA VIEW: Typical liberal media.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Mulls Run For U.S. Senate, Insiders Say (Report)
Somehow Senanator doesn’t have as great of a ring to it as Governator — but Arnold Schwarzenegger is considering a run for U.S. Senate nonetheless, according to a Politico report that quotes unnamed GOP insiders. This “would give Arnold the stage to jam Trump for the next 16 months,” one unnamed veteran GOP strategist who spoke on condition of anonymity told Politico. The former California governor and “Terminator” star is said to be eyeing the 2018 Senate race, when Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, would be up for reelection at 85 years old. SF Gate

White House: Trump Unaware Of Flynn’s Foreign Agent Work
President Donald Trump was not aware that his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had worked to further the interests of the government of Turkey before appointing him, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday. Spicer's comments came two days after Flynn and his firm, Flynn Intel Group Inc., filed paperwork with the Justice Department formally identifying him as a foreign agent and acknowledging that his work for a company owned by a Turkish businessman could have aided Turkey's government. Asked whether Trump knew about Flynn's work before he appointed him as national security adviser, Spicer said, "I don't believe that that was known." Las Vegas Sun

RadioShack Files Bankruptcy Again; Will Close About 200 Stores
Struggling consumer electronics chain RadioShack has filed for bankruptcy for the second time in just over two years. Fort Worth, Texas-based RadioShack filed its petition in bankruptcy court in Delaware on Wednesday and said it will close about 200 of its more than 1,500 locations. The company did not provide information on whether any of its Long Island stores would be affected. There... Newsday

GOP Health Plan Advances; Schumer Calls It ‘Less For More’
The Republican plan to dismantle the Affordable Care Act moved ahead Thursday despite opposition by Democrats and the concerns of some Senate Republicans when two House panels approved it in party-line votes after working through the night. With the majority Republican in control, the Energy and Commerce Committee voted 31-23 for its piece of the legislation Thursday afternoon after a 27-hour session and the Ways and Means Committee approved its part of the bill in pre-dawn 23-16 vote. “Two House committees have now approved the American Health Care Act. Next the bill goes to the Budget Committee as part of an open, transparent process,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who with President Donald Trump has put the act on a fast track. Newsday
VOA VIEW: The limited Republican plan is better than Obamacare.

Study Finds Low-Gluten Diets Linked To Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
Researchers from Harvard University found that a low- or gluten-free diet may increase a person's risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The research findings were presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health 2017 Scientific Sessions. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, and gives bread and baked goods their elasticity during the baking process. Celiac disease is a gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity in people and is linked to type 1 diabetes. The availability of gluten-free products has increased in recent years, however, many people without Celiac disease are using gluten-free products more and more. Research has shown that reducing gluten consumption in people without Celiac disease provides no long-term health benefits. UPI

Interior Secretary Says He'll Treat Native American Tribes As 'Equals'
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, who oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs, said he wants to interact with Native American tribes as equals and supported their calls for sovereignty and self-determination. Zinke, who was confirmed March 1, made the comments during the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs' "Identifying Indian Affairs priorities for the Trump Administration" oversight hearing. Zinke, a former U.S. Navy SEAL, recently resigned as Montana's sole member of the House of Representatives to lead the Department of the Interior. During testimony, Zinke cited his experience with Montana's seven tribes recognized by the U.S. government. Zinke said while serving as a member of Congress he made it his priority to "remain accessible" to all tribal members "from the Crow Nation to the Blackfeet Nation" in order to work together "on a leader-to-leader basis." UPI News

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Moscow Thursday afternoon, and used Russian President Vladimir Putin's greetings for Purim as a chance to blast Iran.
“I think you for your good wishes on Purim,” Netanyahu said alongside Putin before their meeting in the Kremlin. “Some 2,500 years ago in ancient Persia, there was an attempt to wipe out the Jews, which did not succeed, and which we commemorate with this holiday.” Jerusalem Post

Scotland Yard and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are investigating more than a hundred bomb threats made to Jewish groups in the United States and Britain since Jan. 7, US and UK law enforcement and Jewish community officials said. Investigators said there is evidence that some of the US and British bomb threats are linked. According to people in both countries who have listened to recordings of the threats, most of the them have been made over the telephone by men and women with American accents whose voices are distorted by electronic scramblers. Jerusalem Post

IS Conflict: US Sends Marines To Support Raqqa Assault
They include Marines, who arrived in the past few days. US special forces are already in Syria. Meanwhile, US-led coalition air strikes killed 20 civilians - including children - near the city, reports say. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is to host talks with coalition members ahead of an expected assault on Raqqa. Foreign ministers and senior officials from 68 nations and international organisations had been invited to attend a two-day gathering in Washington beginning on 22 March, the state department said. "Secretary Tillerson has been crystal clear that defeating Isis (IS) is the state department's top priority in the Middle East," acting state department spokesman Mark Toner said. BBC

Can Sweat Patches Revolutionise Diabetes?
Scientists have developed a sensor that can monitor blood sugar levels by analysing sweaty skin. But rather than a gym-soaked t-shirt, it needs just one millionth of a litre of sweat to do the testing. The team - in South Korea - showed the sensor was accurate and think it could eventually help patients with diabetes. And in extra tests on mice, the sensor was hooked up to a patch of tiny needles to automatically inject diabetes medication. The team at the Seoul National University were trying to overcome the need for "painful blood collection" needed in diabetes patients. BBC

Sean Spicer Muddles Answer When Pressed On Trump And Russia Investigation
The White House has shown further confusion about Donald Trump’s accusations of wiretapping against his predecessor, Barack Obama. At a briefing on Wednesday, press secretary Sean Spicer initially said “we need to find out” if the president is the subject of an investigation, then subsequently sought to clarify that there is “no reason” to believe he is. Reports emerged on the Heat Street website in November, and the BBC in January, that secret court orders were issued as part of a justice department inquiry into Russian efforts to intervene in the election on Trump’s behalf. Guardian

Trump’s Anti-Muslim Policies May Portend Oil Industry Brain Drain
Chemical, electrical and production engineers are among those who gather every Friday for a service at the Muslim Association of West Texas, a small mosque in Midland, Texas. According to Farook Rafeek, who regularly attends these services, more than half of the congregation works in the oil industry. And Trump’s new immigration ban may keep the mosque from growing: despite an oil industry desperate for specialists like the ones who moved across the world from majority-Muslim nations to work in Texas, fewer are on the way. Guardian

Donald Trump Offers Pizza And Bowling To Republicans On Charm Offensive To Secure Healthcare Bill
President Donald Trump launched an all-out charm offensive targeting opposition within his own Republican Party as he sought to secure the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. In a critical early test of his ability to fulfill his campaign promises Mr Trump planned to head to various states and hold football stadium rallies as he seeks to overhaul President Barack Obama's controversial signature healthcare policy. Telegraph

Melania Trump's Popularity Rating Overtakes Donald's As She Makes Rare Appearance At White House Event
America appeared to be warming to Melania Trump as a new poll showed the first lady is now popular than her husband. Mrs Trump's latest approval rating stood at 52 per cent, surging 16 points from the day President Donald Trump was sworn in on Jan 20. The president's approval rating was currently 45 per cent, according to CNN/ORC. Mrs Trump, 46, has remained out of the limelight, continuing to live at Trump Tower in New York to look after the couple's son Barron during the early days of the presidency. The Slovenian-born former model hosted an event at the White House on International Women's Day on Wednesday where she talked about growing up under communism and coming to America as an immigrant. Telegraph
VOA VIEW: Great numbers coming from a liberal source.

UN Announces New Approach To 'Stamp Out' Sexual Exploitation And Abuse
Underscoring that the United Nations should not be, in any way, associated with the vile and vicious crimes of rape, sexual violence, exploitation and abuse, Secretary-General António Guterres has outlined a new victim-centred approach to prevent and respond to such abuses committed by those serving under the UN flag.
“Such acts of cruelty should never take place. Certainly no person serving with the United Nations in any capacity should be associated with such vile and vicious crimes,” said Mr. Guterres in a message announcing his report released today on the issue. “Let us declare in one voice: We will not tolerate anyone committing or condoning sexual exploitation and abuse. We will not let anyone cover up these crimes with the UN flag,” he added. UN News

'Holistic Thinking' Needed For Peace, Development In Lake Chad Region – Deputy UN Chief Mohammed
Highlighting the multifaceted nature of the crisis in Africa's Lake Chad Basin, the deputy United Nations chief underlined the need for a holistic approach that includes responding to the Boko Haram as well as closing the gap between humanitarian assistance and development interventions. “Lasting recovery will entail supporting reconstruction of schools, health centres, and reviving essential infrastructure […] that support the necessary livelihoods,” Amina Mohammed, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, told the Security Council today. “Effective prevention of future radicalization and violence will also entail comprehensive responses that benefit all members of society,” she added. UN News

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