NEWS   WEDNESDAY, MARCH  15, 2017   NEWS

Jihadis Using Religious Visa To Enter US
A U.S. visa program designed to temporarily admit religious workers from other countries may be letting jihadists into the country, security experts and religious leaders warn. The R visa program is for non-immigrant clerics and religious workers and allows successful applicants to stay in the U.S. for up to five years. They are then allowed to apply for a permanent residency under their R-1 status. But some critics say the visa raises red flags and has long been abused by leaders with extreme views. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Not a good move.

Plot Thickens In Probe Of House IT Contractors
A criminal investigation into IT contractors employed by dozens of House Democrats is sparking broader concerns about continuing access to sensitive government emails, amid new allegations of illicit activity beyond Capitol Hill. The investigation was announced last month by the U.S. Capitol Police and purportedly focuses on the contractors' access to House computers and whether they took hardware and made questionable IT-related purchases. A police spokesman, while declining to go into detail, told Fox News this week that the case remains opens and focuses on “the actions of House IT support staff.” Fox News

Trump's Plan To Dismember Government
President Donald Trump plans to dismember government one dollar at a time. His first budget -- expected to be unveiled later this week -- will mark Trump's most significant attempt yet to remold national life and the relationship between federal and state power. It would codify an assault on regulatory regimes over the environment, business and education bequeathed by former President Barack Obama, and attempt to halt decades of steadily growing government reach. CNN
VOA VIEW: Great, if DC is reduced.

Mafia Appetite In Italy Soars For Farm, Food Businesses
Organized crime has a seemingly insatiable appetite for farm and food businesses, one of the few economic sectors experiencing growth during Italy's protracted economic crisis. Anti-mafia prosecutors and Italy's farm lobby Coldiretti on Tuesday expressed concern that the country's crime syndicates have increased their infiltration or control of agriculture and food markets, ranging from citrus exports to the U.S., Italian wholesale produce markets and local supermarket chains. They urged new legislation to help law enforcement combat mobsters' involvement in farming and food production. A report estimated the overall volume of business in what has been called the "agri-Mafia" interests jumped by 30 percent in 2016, compared to 2015's volume. Philadelphia Inquirer

Trump Reveals $38M Payment, $150M Income In 2005 Tax Info
President Donald Trump revealed on Tuesday that he had paid $38 million in taxes in 2005 while raking in more than $150 million in income. The White House made the announcement shortly after MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow announced on Twitter that the network had obtained two pages of the 2005 returns. A White House statement claimed that Trump, as the head of his real estate empire, had a responsibility “to pay no more taxes than legally required.” Trump previously refused to release any tax information, claiming that he could not do so because he is under audit. NY Post
VOA VIEW: The leakers should go to jail.

EU Chief Dismisses 'Threats' Of British Exit Without A Deal
European Council President Donald Tusk warned Britain Wednesday that leaving the EU without any formal agreement would harm the U.K. most. With Britain set in coming days to launch two years of negotiations preparing its departure, Tusk responded to "threats" from across the English Channel that it might be best to walk away without a deal. "I want to be clear that a no-deal scenario would be bad for everyone, but above all for the U.K., because it would leave a number of issues unresolved," he told EU lawmakers in Strasbourg, France. "We will not be intimidated by threats, and I can assure you they simply will not work," he said. Tampa Tribune

Malaysia: Kim Jong Nam's Identity Confirmed With Child's DNA
Malaysian police were able to confirm the identity of Kim Jong Nam, who was killed last month at Kuala Lumpur's airport, using a DNA sample from one of his children, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Wednesday. Zahid also said negotiations began Monday to resolve a diplomatic standoff over the death of Kim, the estranged half brother of North Korea's leader. Malaysian authorities say Kim was killed Feb. 13 when two women smeared his face with the banned nerve agent VX in a crowded airport terminal. He was carrying a passport bearing the name Kim Chol. Police said last week they had confirmed the victim was Kim Jong Nam, but refused to say how. Tampa Tribune

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Marine Commandant Asks Men In The Corps: 'How Much More' Do Females Need To Do To Be Accepted?
Marine Corps Commandant General Robert Neller, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, vowed to remove the "stain" placed on his unit by active-duty Marines, veterans and civilian personnel who shared nude images of female service members – and posted derogatory or obscene comments -- on web pages and in Facebook groups such as Marines United. Neller, in his opening statement, said he wanted to address both female and male Marines directly: "I know I'm asking a lot of you right now," he told female Marines, past and present: CNS News
VOA VIEW: Stop double standards.

Senate Judiciary Demands All Records On FBI Plan To Pay British Ex-Spy Who Made ‘Russia Dossier’ On Trump
Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to FBI Director James Comey demanding that his agency turn over all records of its reported plan to pay the British ex-spy -- who compiled a salacious and unsubstantiated dossier on Donald Trump just prior to the election – to continue investigating the president. The “Russia Dossier,” which claimed that Trump engaged in perverted sex acts in a Moscow hotel and allegedly was in collusion with the Russians, was published by the online site Buzzfeed. The disturbing allegations in the document were not substantiated.  Famed author and Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward called the dossier a “garbage document.” CNS News

Small Mexican Company Wants To Light Trump's Border Wall
Among the hundreds of companies expressing interest in helping to build U.S. President Donald Trump's southern border wall, one four-member concern stands out: It is from Mexico. Ecovelocity, based in the central city of Puebla, is betting it can provide cheap industrial LED lights for the project, which has sparked the ire of Mexicans. Theodore Atalla, Ecovelocity's owner, is an Egyptian native of Greek heritage who has made Mexico his home for most of the past two decades. He said his firm looked to undercut competition by providing lighting it imports mostly from China. Reuters

Confederate Group Removes Flag, Vows To Raise It Again Soon
A pro-Confederate group in Virginia has taken down a large rebel flag, but says it intends to raise the banner again once the proper permits are obtained. The Roanoke Times (http://bit.ly/2mnKey1 ) reports Rockbridge County officials said the 82-foot-tall flagpole had to be removed last week because it's too close to a public highway. The Virginia Flaggers initially said they wouldn't take the rebel flag down and were prepared to pay any ensuing fines. On Monday, though, they hired a crane to remove the flagpole, which is in front of a pawn shop. The group says they removed the flag at the request of the property owner, who said he'd been "threatened with imprisonment." County officials denied threatening to imprison the owner, but said a judge could impose a jail sentence. Philadelphia Inquirer
VOA VIEW: The Japanese flag would have better rights is court.

U.S. Taxpayers Procrastinate On Filing Returns This Year
Tax season in the United States is off to a slow start. The number of people filing their taxes with the Internal Revenue Service is running well below last year. The number of returns received by the agency was off 8.5 percent from Jan. 23 through March 3. And refunds were down 7.1 percent in dollar terms. These numbers are usually flat year to year, so a significant drop in tax filings means something unusual is going on. One simple reason is a fluke of the calendar. The tax deadline is April 18 instead of the traditional April 15, which falls on a Saturday this year. Reuters

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Female Senators Fiercely Question Marine Chief Over Nude Photo Scandal
Declaring "enough is enough," the top U.S. Marine on Tuesday told senators that he intends to fix the problem that led to current and former Corps members sharing nude photos of female Marines online and making lewd or threatening comments about them. But angry and skeptical members of the Senate Armed Services Committee demanded more, saying the military hasn't done enough to combat sexual assault and harassment despite years of complaints and problems. MSNBC

Trump Admin Ups Drone Strikes, Tolerates More Civilian Deaths
The Trump administration is moving ahead with plans to make it easier for the CIA and the military to target terrorists with drone strikes, even if it means tolerating more civilian casualties, U.S. officials told NBC News. The military already has declared that parts of Yemen and Somalia are war zones — "areas of active hostilities" in Pentagon parlance — which means the U.S. has greater latitude to launch strikes even if civilian deaths are possible. That is part of a broad policy shift underway, U.S. officials say, to grant the CIA and the military more autonomy to target and kill al Qaeda and ISIS militants without presidential sign-off in countries such as Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan. MSNBC

Nancy Pelosi Demands Rep. Steve King Be Ousted From Chairmanship
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi demanded Tuesday that Republicans kick Rep. Steve King out of his post as chairman of a subcommittee with jurisdiction over the U.S. Constitution, saying the congressman needs to be punished for his controversial comments about culture this week. “Steve King’s racist statements must be called out as unacceptable, and the tepid, brush-off response from the speaker and the GOP leadership is disgraceful,” she said. She speculated that President Trump and his top political strategist, Steven Bannon — whom she called “a white supremacist” — have set too low a bar in Washington. Mr. King over the weekend tweeted that the U.S. “can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” Washington Times
VOA VIEW:  When was the last time Democrats demonized one of their own.

Trump Set To Challenge Obama-Era Fuel Standards In Detroit
Moving forcefully against Obama-era environmental rules, President Donald Trump is set to announce in Michigan plans to re-examine federal requirements that regulate the fuel efficiency of new cars and trucks. Trump is expected to reveal his plans during an appearance Wednesday at the American Center for Mobility in Detroit where he'll challenge the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) emissions targets that were a centerpiece of former President Barack Obama's strategy to combat global warming. The rollback underscores the Trump administration's rejection of mainstream climate science in an effort to boost economic growth. Atlanta Journal

3 Things To Watch For From The Federal Reserve On Wednesday
Sending signals loud and clear, the Federal Reserve has left little doubt that it will raise interest rates Wednesday for the third time since December 2015 to reflect a consistently solid U.S economy. The rate increase will likely go down as one of the most telegraphed ever, given that several Fed officials, including Chair Janet Yellen, each let it be known over the past two weeks that they felt it was time to raise the Fed's benchmark short-term rate. Their string of likeminded comments surprised many investors, who had assumed that the Fed would wait until probably June before raising rates again. The thinking was that the Fed would want to see whether President Donald Trump's ambitious economic program of tax cuts, deregulation and higher spending on the military and infrastructure could pass Congress — and then assess how it might affect the economy. Houston Chronicle

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Trump To Call For Review Of Fuel Economy Rules
President Trump is expected to announce Wednesday that his administration plans to review new, tougher fuel-economy standards, a move likely to be cheered by U.S. automakers. If the review eventually results in the standards being lowered, automakers potentially wouldn't have to make as many cars with advanced carbon emission-cutting technology like hybrids, electrics and hydrogen fuel cells in order to hit the minimums. Though cleaner, they are more complicated to make, can be less profitable and generally carry higher prices. Environmentalists say Trump's decision to open the review is the first step in cutting back on tougher corporate average fuel economy, or CAFE, regulations due to cover cars in the 2022 to 2025 model years. Trump is expected to announce the review in a speech near Detroit, the heart of the nation's auto industry. USA Today

At South By Southwest, Seth Moulton Warns Of ‘Nuclear War’ With Russia, Makes Fun Of Paul Ryan’s Workout Routine
In a live-taping of Pod Save America — a popular liberal advocacy podcast hosted by former aides to President Barack Obama — Moulton talked about how he got into politics, President Donald Trump’s travel ban, and his relationship with other members of Congress. The generally light-hearted interview hit its most serious note, however, when Moulton was asked about his most serious foreign policy concern. The former Marine and member of the House Armed Services Committee had a one-word answer: “Russia.” Boston Globe

Joe Biden: Donald Trump ‘Deserves A Chance’ To Lead
Former Vice President Joe Biden declared Monday that President Trump “deserves a chance” to lead the country. During a press conference at the University of Delaware, Mr. Biden told reporters that Mr. Trump has been “playing catch-up” since taking office because he didn’t think he was going to win and was unprepared for a smooth transition. Asked if the Republican president “deserved a chance to govern,” Mr. Biden replied, “Sure he does,” according to audio posted by The Blaze. “That’s exactly why you haven’t seen the president on any of the shows,” the former vice president said. “He deserves a chance and in fairness to him, this is a man in my view, who understandably like all the press thought, didn’t think he was gonna win.” Mr. Biden said the Democrats and former nominee Hillary Clinton had a “transition team” in place nine months ahead of the election. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Hillary and Obama lost.

Obama Spent $36M On Lawsuits To Keep Info Secret
The Obama administration in its final year in office spent a record $36.2 million on legal costs defending its refusal to turn over federal records under the Freedom of Information Act, according to an Associated Press analysis of new U.S. data that also showed poor performance in other categories measuring transparency in government. For a second consecutive year, the Obama administration set a record for times federal employees told citizens, journalists and others that despite searching they couldn’t find a single page of files that were requested. CBS

Amid Opioid Crisis, City Sues Pharma That Makes OxyContin
As deaths from painkillers and heroin abuse spiked and street crimes increased, the mayor of Everett took major steps to tackle the opioid epidemic devastating this working-class city north of Seattle. Mayor Ray Stephanson stepped up patrols, hired social workers to ride with officers and pushed for more permanent housing for chronically homeless people. The city says it has spent millions combating OxyContin and heroin abuse -- and expects the tab to rise. So Everett is suing Purdue Pharma, maker of the opioid pain medication OxyContin, in an unusual case that alleges the drugmaker knowingly allowed pills to be funneled into the black market and the city of about 108,000. Everett alleges the drugmaker did nothing to stop it and must pay for damages caused to the community. CBS

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Republicans Change Their Tune On Congressional Budget Office After Health Care Report
After the Congressional Budget Office released its report Monday on the Republican-backed American Health Care Act, estimating that if the bill becomes law, 14 million more people will be uninsured next year — a number that grows to 24 million by 2026 — supporters of the plan were quick to levy complaints against the office despite previous praise. "The CBO looked at a portion of our plan but not the entire plan," said Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price. "We disagree strenuously with the report that was put out." "We think that CBO simply has it wrong," he later said. ABC

Top Navy Officials Charged In 'Staggering' Bribery Scheme Involving Classified Information
Nine high-ranking U.S. Navy officers, including one former admiral, have been charged with trading classified information in exchange for travel, dinner and prostitution services from a foreign defense contractor -- the latest charges in the widening probe, according to the Justice Department. According to the Justice Department, the Navy officials allegedly took in expensive travel and entertainment expenses as well as prostitution services while steering contracts toward the company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), and blocking its competitors. ABC
VOA VIEW: It's time for leakers to pay and go.

Bridgegate Prosecutor Criticizes Abrupt Ouster Of U.S. Attorneys
New Jersey’s former top federal prosecutor criticized the Trump administration’s handling of his forced resignation, saying despite more than seven years on the job he was given only seven hours to leave and no time to prepare his successor. Paul Fishman, who prosecuted the political scandal known as Bridgegate, was landing at an airport in Newark at 5 p.m. on March 10 when he received a barrage of texts from friends asking if was all right. He then saw news report saying he was one of 46 prosecutors ordered to resign. Fishman said he confirmed it with a top Justice Department official, who said he was out at midnight. Bloomberg

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Americans Are Eating More Butter Than Ever
Hipsters are dropping it into cocktails and coffee. A major food distributor is packing it into a trendy new pastry. Bob Evans Farms Inc. is slipping it into waffles and McDonald’s Corp. onto its signature muffins. What’s this new craze? It’s none other than your grandparents’ standby, butter. Yes, butter, it turns out, is having a moment. Americans are forecast to eat a whopping 8 percent more of the stuff than last year, reaching 940,000 metric tons, almost the weight of three Empire State Buildings. That’s the most since at least 1967, Department of Agriculture data shows. Once reviled as public-health enemy No. 1, butter is now being pitched as a more wholesome alternative to margarine and transfats. It helps that dietary experts are now training their sights on the evils of sugar, shifting the spotlight away from butter’s artery-clogging glory. Bloomberg

Trump White House Sees ‘Deep State’ Behind Opposition, Leaks
The White House and its allies are stepping up their attacks on a foe typically associated with fragile democracies, military coups and spy thrillers. The "deep state," an alleged shadowy network of powerful entrenched federal and military interests, has increasingly become the focus of Republicans who accuse such forces of trying to undermine the new president. Though senior White House staff members don't use the exact label, the notion behind it has taken hold. President Donald Trump claims his predecessor tapped his phone and America's intelligence agencies have conspired to leak harmful information to embarrass him. His chief strategist has vowed to dismantle the permanent Washington "administration state." White House spokesman Sean Spicer says "people that burrowed into government" are trying to sabotage the president. Las Vegas Sun

US State Dept. Warns College Students Against Spring Break Travel To Mexico
The U.S. State Department is warning college students across the country not to spend spring break in certain parts of Mexico, where rampant crime has made travel dangerous for Americans. The warning comes as students are finishing up midterm exams and heading out in search of warmer climes, salty margaritas and wild parties. But Mexico, once among the most popular spring break destinations, is plagued with endemic levels of violence, according to the government. CNN
VOA VIEW: Going to Mexico is not good at this time.

Lawmaker Mocks Abortion Law With Call For Masturbation Fines
A Texas lawmaker is making a point about legislation that restricts women's access to health care and abortions by proposing to fine men $100 when they masturbate.
Alongside the penalty for wasting semen not resulting in a pregnancy, state Rep. Jessica Farrar's bill would require a "medically unnecessary digital rectal exam" before any man undergoes a vasectomy or can be prescribed Viagra. The 11th term Democrat tells the Houston Chronicle that her bill mimics how a woman seeking an abortion is forced by Texas law to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound, which "has nothing to do with her health care." She says while some people think it's funny, her bill highlights the obstacles women face "that were placed there by legislatures making it very difficult for them to access health care." Las Vegas Sun

Growing Algae Bloom In Arabian Sea Tied To Climate Change
The Gulf of Oman turns green twice a year, when an algae bloom the size of Mexico spreads across the Arabian Sea all the way to India. Scientists who study the algae say the microscopic organisms are thriving in new conditions brought about by climate change, and displacing the zooplankton that underpin the local food chain, threatening the entire marine ecosystem. Khalid al-Hashmi, a marine biologist at the Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, wrinkles his nose as the research vessel nears the bloom. "Sea stench," he says, referring to the algae's ammonia secretions. "It's here, you can smell it." Houston Chronicle

Glenn Beck Wants To Heal The America He Divided — One Hug At A Time
The so-called liberal media are preaching the good news about Glenn Beck in unison: He is redeemed! “Glenn Beck Is Sorry About All That,” The New York Times says. The New Yorker announces that “Glenn Beck Tries Out Decency.” The Atlantic catalogues “Glenn Beck’s Regrets.” In the publications that Beck for years dismissed as an effete elite that had led the nation astray, the notion that Beck has now apologized for everything he did to make America an uglier, louder, more fractious place is just too delicious to resist. Now, in a moment of deep gloom for the nation’s intellectuals, life delivers a gleaming gift: Glenn Beck, godfather to the tea party, cable news rabble-rouser of the first order, a hawker of ornate and dire conspiracy theories, not only has spent the past year as a Never Trumper but also has spurned his past and is testifying to the power of love, understanding and empathy — for liberals! Kansas City Star

Premier: China Doesn't Want 'Trade War' With Washington
China's No. 2 leader said Wednesday his government hopes for positive relations with Washington and has no desire for a trade war nor plans to devalue its currency to boost exports. Speaking at an annual news conference, Premier Li Keqiang emphasized the shared interests of the world's two biggest economies. He said they should "uphold strategic interests." U.S. President Donald Trump promised to raise import taxes on Chinese goods to counter what he says are unfair practices by Beijing. That has prompted warnings China might retaliate, disrupting one of the world's biggest trading relationships. Miami Herald

Marco Rubio Criticizes Snoop Dogg Over Trump Video
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says Snoop Dogg shouldn't have shot a toy gun at a clown dressed as President Donald Trump in a music video released over the weekend.
The video shows Snoop shooting at the Trump character with a gun that releases a flag with the word, "bang." Rubio tells TMZ that "Snoop shouldn't have done that." He says "we've had presidents assassinated before in this country, so anything like that is something people should really careful about." He adds that if the "wrong person sees that and gets the wrong idea, you could have a real problem." SF Gate
VOA VIEW: If it had a picture of Obama there would be a media uproar.

Legal Pot Could Cost The Alcohol Industry Billions, Researchers Say
Beer and alcohol sales could see a decline in sales through further marijuana legalization, experts believe. According to a study released in March from the Cannabiz Consumer Group (C2G), researchers found that the beer industry stands to lose about 7 percent of total sale — amounting to around $2 billion — if marijuana is legalized nationally, reports Entrepreneur. The study also points out that 27 percent of current beer drinkers have already substituted pot for alcohol, or would if legal marijuana was available in their state. “As legalization extends to additional states, either through medicinal or recreational legislation or both, C2G projects that legal cannabis penetration will settle at a level comparable to that of beer and wine and that a fully mature market would create a new $50 billion industry,” the company said in a statement. SF Gate

Neiman Marcus Considers Sale In Wake Of Financial Woes
High-end retailer Neiman Marcus announced Tuesday it is considering selling the company -- possibly to rival Hudson Bay -- in the wake of financial troubles. Neiman Marcus announced it was exploring its strategic options after reporting a 6.1 percent drop in second-quarter revenue, which was $1.4 billion. The company posted a net loss of $117.1 million in the period, which includes a $153.8 million write down of its brand. One year earlier, it had reported a profit of $7.9 million for the quarter.
The company, which was acquired by private equity firms Ares Management L.P. and CPPIB in 2013, said it is working with financial advisers to review its financial situation. It said it didn't have a timetable for completion of the evaluation. UPI

German Minister Wants To Fine Facebook, Twitter Up To $53M For Fake News
Legislation introduced in Germany would fine social media companies like Facebook and Twitter if they delay the removal of illegal content, including fake news, from their websites. Germany's Justice Minister Heiko Maas has drafted a bill to impose fines of up to $53 million in a dramatic crackdown on content. In December, Maas announced legislation to impose fines of up to $530,000 for any item of fake news and hate speech, including racism or comments that incite violence, if they aren't removed within 24 hours of being flagged. UPI

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US MAKES 1ST EXTRADITION REQUEST FOR HAMAS TERRORIST WHO KILLED AMERICANS
Late Tuesday, the US Department of Justice was in the process of announcing its first ever extradition request to try a Hamas terrorist who murdered Americans during the Second Intifada in its own courts. Prior to US President Donald Trump taking office, the only legal proceedings against such terrorists have been criminal proceedings in Israeli courts or civil wrongful death proceedings brought by the families of victim, not by the US government, in US courts. Jerusalem Post

New Drug For One In Five Breast Cancers
Around 10,000 women a year in the UK might benefit from a new type of breast cancer treatment, say scientists. Biological therapies can help fight breast cancers caused by rare, inherited genetic errors like the BRCA one actress Angelina Jolie carries. Now a new study by experts at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute suggests these targeted drugs may also work in many other women who do not have these risky genes. The drugs could be effective in one in five breast cancers, say the researchers. BBC

US To Deploy Missile-Capable Drones Across Border From North Korea
The US has declared it will permanently station missile-capable drones in South Korea in the latest round of military escalation in north-eastern Asia. The drone deployment comes a week after North Korea carried out a test salvo of four missiles that landed off the coast of Japan, and a day before the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, embarks on a tour of a region widely regarded as the most dangerous corner of the world. Guardian

Trump Travel Ban Devastating For Somali Refugees Cleared For New Life In US
Although the US is a favourite destination for refugees, it has a very tough and lengthy screening process, involving extensive background checks by multiple federal security agencies. According to the US state department, “Refugees are subject to the highest level of security checks for any category of traveller to the United States.”
That is why it takes years for refugees to be resettled in the US, with some even deciding to withdraw their applications as the wait drags on. Omar Jelle, a father of four, was in the final stages of a resettlement process that had started in 2007. He had thought about withdrawing several times but the travel ban made up his mind. Guardian

Donald Trump 'Proposing To Slash US Payments To UN By More Than 50 Per Cent'
Donald Trump is proposing to slash American payments to the United Nations by more than 50 per cent, according to US media reports and Western diplomats, who fear drastic cuts to lifesaving aid and peacekeeping missions around the world. The first details could come on Thursday when the White House will unveil its budget for the year ahead. Mr Trump is expected to detail billions of dollars in savings to pay for his plan to expand the armed forces without raising taxes. State Department officials have been told to find cuts of more than 50 per cent in payments to UN programmes, according to a report in Foreign Policy. Telegraph
VOA VIEW: The UN budget needs cutting - they have taken advantage of the US.

Canadian Girl Guides Cancel All Trips To US Over Fears Over Trump Travel Restrictions
The Girl Guides of Canada are cancelling all travel to the United States because of fears girls might have trouble at the border due to travel restrictions enacted by President Donald Trump. Spokeswoman Sarah Kiriliuks said Monday the organization's membership is diverse and inclusive and leaders worried some girls could get left behind when a group tried to enter the US. A temporary travel ban by Trump on citizens from six Muslim-majority countries also has Canadian schools concerned with how foreign-born students will be treated at the border. Telegraph

UN Launches 'Platform Of Champions' Calling To End Global Gender Pay Gap
With women being paid an average of 23 per cent less than men, the United Nations has launched a high-profile network to call for equal pay for work of equal value. “We want equal pay now,” yelled Academy Award-winning American actress Patricia Arquette and two-time Olympic gold medalist and soccer superstar Abby Wambach, leading a call in the UN General Assembly Hall yesterday evening at the launch of the Equal Pay Platform of Champions. The launch of the Platform – which is part of a broader UN International Labour Organization (ILO) and UN Women Global Equal Pay Coalition – coincided with the opening day of the 61st Commission on the Status of Women, known as the largest inter-governmental forum on women's rights and gender equality. The theme this year is on women's economic empowerment in the changing world of work. UN News

Syria 'Worst Man-Made Disaster Since World War II' – UN Rights Chief
The conflict in Syria is the “worst man-made disaster the world has seen since World War II,” the United Nations human rights chief today said, calling for an end to all tortures, executions and unfair trials, and at the very least, for the names and localities of people held in detention or information about where they are buried. “Today, in a sense the entire country has become a torture-chamber: a place of savage horror and absolute injustice,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein told a high-level panel discussion at the Human Rights Council on the situation of human rights in Syria. UN News

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