McConnell Vows Gorsuch Confirmation This Week, Says Nuclear Option 'In Hands Of Democrats'
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that Judge Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed this week to the Supreme Court but acknowledged Republicans still might not have enough support from Senate Democrats to avoid their attempts to slow or try to stop the nomination process with a filibuster. “We’re going to get Judge Gorsuch confirmed this week,” McConnell, R-Ky., told “Fox News Sunday.” Gorsuch, President Trump’s pick to fill the high court seat of conservative Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, will almost certainly have enough votes early this week in the GOP-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee but will struggle to get 60 votes for final confirmation by Friday. (Scalia died in February 2016.) Fox News
VOA VIEW: It's up to Democrats to look like fools.

EPA's Pruitt: Trump Will End Overreach, Obama 'Made Up' Regulatory Power
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on Sunday defended the administration’s positions on climate change and ending domestic energy policies that he said the Obama administration “just made up.” Pruitt tried to make clear his position, amid outcry from environmental activists, that humans indeed contribute to climate change. "There's a warming trend, the climate is changing, and human activity contributes to that change in some measure," he told "Fox News Sunday." "The real issue is how much we contribute to it and measuring that with precision." Fox News

Why Trump's Golf Diplomacy Won't Work With China's Xi Jinping
It's the US President's preferred weekend pastime and one he's used to strike up a rapport with other world leaders. But few expect Donald Trump to tee off with Xi Jinping, his Chinese counterpart, in Florida this week. Trump will host Xi at his exclusive Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach on April 6 and 7, but any suggestion of an outing to the nearby Trump-owned golf courses is likely to land in the rough. Xi, an avid soccer fan, isn't known to be a golfer -- and he's been waging a war on the sport in his country. Since he came to power nearly five years ago, Xi's government has shut down scores of golf courses across China and effectively banned the 88 million members of the ruling Communist Party from playing. CNN
VOA VIEW:CNN looks at all negatives when it comes to Trump.

McConnell: Government Shutdown Won't Happen This Month
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday he is "very confident" Congress will avoid government shutdown when the current government spending law expires in late April. Asked by Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday" if he would be prepared to risk a government shutdown over GOP agenda items like President Donald Trump's proposed border wall or defunding Planned Parenthood, McConnell said, "We're going to negotiate all of those items in the context of this funding bill." CNN
VOA VIEW: It's Obama's budget and loss.


Flynn Did Not Initially Disclose Income From Russia-Linked Companies
Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, failed to disclose payments from a Russian television network and two other firms linked to Russia in a February financial disclosure form, according to documents released by the White House. In a form signed by Flynn on March 31, the former White House official listed speaking engagements to Russian entities, including the Kremlin-funded RT TV, Volga-Dnepr Airlines and Kaspersky Government Security Solutions Inc, a U.S. subsidiary of Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab. The form, released on Saturday, does not say how much Flynn was paid but the speeches are in a section titled "sources of compensation exceeding $5,000 in a year." Reuters
VOA VIEW: Flynn was fired.

Trump: 'Totally' Possible For U.S. To Address North Korea Threat Alone
The United States is prepared to respond to North Korean nuclear threats on its own if China fails to pressure Pyongyang, President Donald Trump said in an interview with the Financial Times on Sunday. "Well if China is not going to solve North Korea, We will. That is all I am telling you," he was quoted as telling the newspaper.
Trump will host Chinese President Xi Jinping this Thursday and Friday at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, where the two leaders are expected to discuss North Korea, China's ambitions in the South China Sea and trade. Rueters

Judge To Trump: No Protection For Campaign Rally Speech Inciting Violence
A federal judge has rejected President Donald Trump's free speech defense against a lawsuit accusing him of inciting violence against protesters at a campaign rally.
Trump's lawyers sought to dismiss the lawsuit by three protesters who say they were roughed up by his supporters at a March 1, 2016 rally in Louisville, Kentucky. They argued that Trump didn't intend for his supporters to use force. Two women and a man say they were shoved and punched by audience members at Trump's command. Much of it was captured on video and widely broadcast during the campaign, showing Trump pointing at the protesters and repeating "get them out." Judge David J. Hale in Louisville ruled Friday that the suit against Trump, his campaign and three of his supporters can proceed. MSNBC
VOA VIEW: Foolish!

McConnell Says He’s Seen ‘No’ Evidence Of Trump Surveillance
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Sunday reiterated that he is unaware of any intelligence information that indicates the Obama Administration in any form applied or asked for surveillance of President Trump's team before or after the election. "No," McConnell said, later adding, "the committee is going to conduct this investigation. You asked me if I knew anything about alleged wiretapping by the previous president. The answer is no." Both the Senate and the House intelligence committees have been looking into the issue ever since President Donald Trump fired off a series of tweets in early March accusing the former president of ordering a wiretap of Trump Tower before the election. MSNBC


Rep. Adam Schiff: Too Early To Say Trump Campaign Colluded With Russia
Rep. Adam Schiff says it’s premature to conclude that members of the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to interfere in the general election. Asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper whether he can “say definitively that there was collusion” between members of the campaign and Moscow to meddle in the presidential race, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said it’s too early to tell. “We can say, conclusively, this is something that needs to be thoroughly investigated,” Mr. Schiff said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “But it’s way premature to be reaching conclusions.” Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Schiff is now eating his words.

NBC’s Chuck Todd Warns President Trump Against ‘Making Enemies’ With Congress
NBC’s Chuck Todd is warning President Trump not to “make enemies” with Congress if he wants to implement his agenda. “He’s got to essentially stop making enemies,” Mr. Todd said Sunday on “Today.” “If he attacks Democrats and the Freedom Caucus at the same time, he’s attacking a majority — suddenly he’s attacking a majority in Congress. And that would be a majority that he would be fighting. Why fight a majority in Congress? Why not create a governing majority in Congress?” Washingotn Times
VOA VIEW: Liberal Todd makes a good point - only that point.

John Cornyn: Senate Intel Will Investigate Inmasking, Russian Intervention
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Sunday that the Senate Intelligence Committee will investigate the possibility that U.S. officials unmasked members of President Trump’s White House in a surveillance sweep, as well as Russian meddling in the election. “Well, I do think they are connected,” Cornyn, who is Senate majority whip and a Senate Intelligence Committee member, said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.” “And they both will be the subject of our inquiry on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Obviously anytime anybody jeopardizes the privacy rights of an American citizen, and as part of an intelligence gathering process that would be unauthorized, and then leaks that information, that’s potentially a crime. And that’s something we ought to pursue.” CBS

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The Long History Of Political Fights Over Supreme Court Seats
Wondering when Supreme Court nominations became so politically contentious? Only about 222 years ago -- when the Senate voted down George Washington’s choice for chief justice. “We are in an era of extreme partisan energy right now. In such a moment, the partisanship will manifest itself across government, and there’s no reason to think the nomination process will be exempt from that. It hasn’t been in the past,” University of Georgia law professor Lori Ringhand said. This year’s brouhaha sees Senate Democrats and Republicans bracing for a showdown over President Donald Trump’s nominee, Neil Gorsuch. It’s the latest twist in the political wrangling that has surrounded the high court vacancy almost from the moment Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016. CBS

Ash Carter: A US Pre-Emptive Strike On North Korea Could Lead To 'Invasion' Of South Korea
Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter says a U.S. preemptive strike against North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program could prompt the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, to try to invade South Korea. Carter, who served as defense secretary in the Obama administration, told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz on “This Week” Sunday that if the U.S. preemptively strikes North Korea, “It's quite possible that they would as a consequence of that launch … attempt an invasion of South Korea.” “I'm confident of the outcome of that war, which would be the defeat of North Korea,” Carter said. “But, Martha, I need to caution you, this is a war [with] ... an intensity of violence associated with it that we haven't seen since the last Korean War.” ABC
VOA VIEW: North Korea is putting the possibility up for doing.

Schiff: Trump's Calling News 'Fake' Should Set Off 'Alarm Bells'
The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said he disagrees with panel chairman Devin Nunes' characterization of intelligence documents he saw at the White House as pointing to potential “incidental surveillance” of President Trump and his team during the transition. "I can't go into the contents of the documents," Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." “I can say I don't agree with the chairman's characterization.” Schiff spent nearly two hours at the White House on Friday reviewing a set of intelligence documents that, he said he was told, were the same that GOP Rep. Nunes saw on his controversial night-time trip to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue earlier this month. ABC
VOA VIEW: Schiff is making a fool of himself.

Leftist Claims Win In Ecuador Election; Rival Cries Foul
Leftist candidate Lenin Moreno appeared to have won Ecuador's presidential election but his opposition rival refused to recognize the results, calling on his supporters to take to the streets to guard against "fraud." Sunday's second-round runoff in the Andean nation of 16 million was being watched closely as a barometer of whether the left, which had dominated South American politics for the past 15 years, could stop a string of right-wing victories across the region. With more than 97 percent of voting acts counted, Moreno garnered 51 percent of the vote while conservative banker Guillermo Lasso stood at just under 49 percent. Tampa Tribune

MLK Site To Mark Anniversary Of Civil Rights Icon's Death
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site plans to mark the 49th anniversary of the civil rights leader's death. The National Park Service says the site will host the annual "King Remembrance Day" event on Tuesday. King's daughter and CEO of the King Center, the Rev. Bernice King, plans to speak at a wreath-laying ceremony at historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, Heritage Sanctuary. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. The National Park Service also plans to offer silent open house tours of King's birth home on Tuesday and the following weekend from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Atlanta Journal


Remains Of A New Pyramid Discovered In Egypt
A top antiquities official says an Egyptian excavation team has discovered the remains of a new pyramid that dates back to the 13th Dynasty, some 3700 years ago. The head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector, Mahmoud Afifi, said in a statement Monday that the remains were located north of King Sneferu's bent pyramid in the Dahshur royal necropolis south of Cairo. Due to the bent slope of its sides, the pyramid is believed to have been ancient Egypt's first attempt to build a smooth-sided pyramid. The necropolis was the burial site for courtiers and high-ranking officials. Adel Okasha, the head of Dahshur necropolis, said that the remains belong to the inner structure of the pyramid, including a corridor. Other remains included blocks showing the interior design of the pyramid. Tampa Tribune

Vitamin D RDA Should Be Cut 50 Percent, Study Finds
The recommended dietary allowance of 800 International Units of vitamin D for bone health should be cut in half, according to a study released Sunday at the 2017 scientific meeting of the Endocrine Society. An RDA of 400 IU of vitamin D daily is enough for 97.5 percent of the population, according to the study. The abstract can be found at Since older women generally need more vitamin D for bone health than younger people, the 400 I.U. limit would suffice for them as well.
The study states it uses newer, more accurate technology to retest samples from an earlier double-blind study of the effect of vitamin D3 supplementation, which determined that a daily RDA of 800 I.U. would protect bone health. San Diego Union

Controversial U.S. Ambassador To Israel Could Temper Trump
Before he was president of the United States, Donald Trump was a hard-driving businessman who expected his employees to be always available. But not David Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer who sometimes broke up meetings with Trump to observe Jewish holidays and Shabbat. “I have been with him at critical times on business deals where I had to leave the room and go home,” Friedman said in an interview during the presidential campaign last May, describing his years-long relationship with Trump. “I’m sure it was very frustrating for him that I just disappeared.” That Trump permitted such a dynamic is evidence of an uncommonly close and respectful partnership that has now propelled Friedman to one of the most high-profile positions in global diplomacy — as Trump’s newly confirmed, albeit controversial, ambassador to Israel. Kansas City Star
VOA VIEW: Religion comes first.

Haley Says Russia Was ‘Certainly’ Involved In U.S. Election
The U.S. envoy to the United Nations says she’s maintaining a hard line against Russia, even as her boss -- President Donald Trump -- continues to dismiss reported Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. election as “fake” news. “Certainly I think Russia was involved in the election,” Nikki Haley said in an interview with ABC’s “This Week” broadcast on Sunday, according to a transcript provided by the network. “There’s no question about that.” Haley, a former Republican governor of South Carolina, made her first Sunday-show appearances since becoming the nation’s top diplomat at the UN as the U.S. prepared to take over the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council. Bloomberg

FBI Corruption Probe In Pennsylvania Had More In Its Sights
Fresh revelations show how federal authorities tried to use disgraced former state Treasurer Rob McCord to implicate others in a broad pay-to-play investigation of Pennsylvania government, but it leaves the question of whether the FBI probe is effectively finished. The investigation dates to 2009, when the FBI set up a fake company with phony executives who began hiring lobbyists in Harrisburg and making campaign contributions. It has thus far produced charges against four people, including McCord and John Estey, a onetime chief of staff to former Gov. Ed Rendell. Ripples of fear washed through Pennsylvania's political circles two years ago when federal authorities began to notify people that they had been recorded or targeted. But the investigation may be at an end. Phiiladelphia Inqurier

Trump Regrets None Of His Tweets, Even The Clinkers’
President Trump said he doesn’t regret sending tweets, even if some of them are duds. “I don’t regret anything, because there is nothing you can do about it. You know if you issue hundreds of tweets, and every once in a while you have a clinker, that’s not so bad,” Trump said in an interview with the Financial Times released on Sunday. “Now my last tweet, you know the one that you are talking about perhaps, was the one about being in quotes wire tapped, meaning surveilled. Guess what, it is turning out to be true,” the president said. Trump who has used the social messaging site to antagonize and threaten enemies, prod opponents and blame his travails on the “fake media” NY Post
VOA VIEW: Right is right - even if there are a few mistakes.

Jared Kushner Is In Iraq For ‘Confidential’ Meetings
President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, is in Iraq. A senior administration official says Kushner is traveling in the Middle East with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford. Other details about the trip are not being released. The official isn’t authorized to speak about confidential meetings by name and demanded anonymity. Kushner’s West Wing portfolio is robust. He has been deeply involved with presidential staffing and has played the role of shadow diplomat, advising on relations with the Middle East, Canada and Mexico. Last week he launched a task force meant to modernize government using lessons drawn from the private sector. NY Post

Latin American Markets Feel The Pressure From Political Turmoil
It’s been a tumultuous few days in Latin America with anti-government protests in Venezuela and Paraguay, an attack on the opposition presidential candidate in Ecuador and recurring unrest in Brazil, where the president’s popularity is tumbling amid attempts to reform the pension system. All are reigniting concern about political stability in some of this year’s best-performing emerging markets and key U.S. trading partners. Bloomberg

Sentencings Not The End Of New Jersey Bridge Case Saga
Fans of the long-running saga known as "Bridgegate," take heart: Last week's sentencing of two former associates of Republican Gov. Chris Christie wasn't the final installment. Several issues related to the four days of politically motivated gridlock at the George Washington Bridge in 2013 are yet to be resolved. They include a civil suit that names Christie's campaign organization and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. There's also the as-yet-unscheduled sentencing of former Port Authority official David Wildstein, who pleaded guilty and testified against defendants Bill Baroni and Bridget Kelly. Las Vegas Sun

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Want To Help Your Kid Ace The Big Tests? Make Them Laugh, Not Study
When it comes to test day, your kids know what they know. The hard part is getting over the anxiety. With all of the pressure to get into honors classes and top colleges for today’s students — not to mention a slew of upcoming state exams that are required to graduate from high school — this can be a stressful time of year for families. A bad SAT score or bombing an advanced placement test can feel like the end of the world. Miami-Dade third graders took a state reading test last week that can determine whether they move on to fourth grade, and students in the fourth through tenth grades also face state exams. For older high school students, advanced placement and International Baccalaureate tests are just around the corner. Miami Herald

Americans' Right To Protest Is In Grave Danger, United Nations Warns
The right to protest is fundamental to American democracy. The country was born, after all, out of decades of civil disobedience by people angry about taxation without representation. (In Washington, FWIW, we are still angry.) But according to United Nations human rights investigators, this very basic principle is under attack. Over the past few months, on the heels of a fresh wave of organizing by liberals, at least 19 states have introduced measures that would criminalize peaceful protest. In places such as Minnesota, Michigan and Iowa, Republican lawmakers have proposed laws that would stiffen penalties for demonstrators who block traffic. In North Dakota, GOP leaders are pushing a bill that would allow motorists to run over and kill agitators, as long as the crash was accidental. In Indiana, conservatives want to instruct police to use "any means necessary" to remove activists from a roadway. Opponents worry this could lead to more brutal police response. SF Gate

For Struggling Kern County, Trump Means Hope And Change
The November election is far from over in the Central Valley. All along Highway 99, which cuts through California’s agricultural heartland, are Donald Trump’s weathered “Make America Great Again” campaign signs, many of them tied to the metal mesh farm wagons that haul crops from the fields. Pasted to all those aging mini-billboards are newer notices reading, “Thanks for voting,” reminders of just who won the election. Here in the heart of Red State California, President Trump’s victory has been a ray of hope in communities where the recession lingers. “We voted for (John) McCain, we voted for (Mitt) Romney, but we weren’t happy with it,” said Cathy Abernathy, a Republican consultant in Bakersfield. “We didn’t have the faith in them we do in Trump.” SF Gate
VOA VIEW: Liberals hate the truth - Trump is much better than Hillary and Obama.

Melinda Gates: Foreign Aid Cuts To Contraceptives In Trump's Budget Hurt Millions Of Women
Last week, just a few days after the White House proposed dramatic cuts to health and development aid, I headed to Indonesia. The timing was coincidental — the trip had been planned for months — but the reason I was going happened to be especially relevant to our country’s national debate. Indonesia has strategically used foreign aid to transform itself from a poor nation into a middle-income one. I was there to talk about the role that smart investments in contraceptives have played in the transformation. Many people don’t realize the role contraceptives play in building a more stable and prosperous world. For most of my life, I certainly didn’t. But after Bill and I started our foundation and I began spending time in developing countries, women kept telling me about their unmet need for family planning and asking what I could do to help. When I started looking at the data, I learned that contraceptives are actually one of the greatest anti-poverty innovations the world has ever seen. USA Today

The Government’s Struggle To Hold Opioid Manufacturers Accountable
Sixty-six percent of all oxycodone sold in Florida came from this company. But the DEA’s case against it faltered. To combat an escalating opioid epidemic, the Drug Enforcement Administration trained its sights in 2011 on Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of the highly addictive generic painkiller oxycodone. It was the first time the DEA had targeted a manufacturer of opioids for alleged violations of laws designed to prevent diversion of legal narcotics to the black market. And it would become the largest prescription-drug case the agency has pursued. Washington Post

Trump Remains The Center Of Attention, But He’s Increasingly Isolated Politically
For a second consecutive weekend, President Trump remained in Washington — tweeting in the morning, holding meetings at the White House and heading to his Virginia golf club on Sunday — all the time surrounded by aides and patrons yet, increasingly, politically marooned. Weighed down by dismal approval ratings, the president has been unable to wrangle enough support in Congress to advance his agenda and is searching for outside support to defend him from attacks coming from all sides. Ahead of his 100th day in office, which he will mark this month, Trump has struggled to build a governing coalition that matches the nontraditional alliance that put him in the Oval Office. And he has turned to making enemies of former partners among Republicans in Congress, even as Democrats keep him at arm’s length. Washington Post
VOA VIEW: Trump has accomplished much more that Obama did during three times the time.

President Trump OKs Federal Aid Following California Storms
President Donald Trump has approved federal assistance to help California counties recover from winter storms that caused flooding, mudslides and power outages.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Sunday that the funds will aid state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in areas affected by severe weather from February 1 to February 23. The assistance will be available in more than two dozen counties, mostly in the northern part of the state. Gov. Jerry Brown requested the aid last month. After five years of drought, California saw record-breaking precipitation this year that led rivers and creeks to break their banks. Las Vegas Sun

Official Results Confirm Serbia PM Vucic Elected President
A near-complete official vote count of Serbia's presidential election confirmed on Monday that prime minister Aleksandar Vucic has won by a landslide in the first round of voting, further strengthening his authoritarian rule in the Balkan country amid support from Russia. The State Election Commission said after counting 91 percent of ballots that Vucic won 55 percent of votes, followed by liberal candidate Sasa Jankovic with 16 percent, and Luka Maksimovic, a parody politician, with 9 percent. The triumph in Sunday's balloting is a major boost for Vucic, who is now expected to further tighten his already firm grip on power in Serbia. Vucic's Serbian Progressive Party also dominates the parliament. Houston Chronicle

Bit By Bit, Trump Methodically Undoing Obama Policies
Amid the turmoil over staff shake-ups, blocked travel bans and the Russia cloud hanging overhead, President Donald Trump is steadily plugging away at a major piece of his agenda: Undoing Obama. From abortion to energy to climate change and personal investments, Trump is keeping his promises in methodically overturning regulations and policies adopted when Barack Obama was president. It hasn't all been smooth sailing. Trump recently failed to fulfill his pledge to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which continues to stand as Obama's most recognizable domestic policy achievement. Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan couldn't persuade enough fellow Republicans to back new health care legislation last month. Ryan pulled the measure just before a scheduled House vote. Trump has had better outcomes in other areas. Houston Chronicle
VOA VIEW: Great!

Dubai Police Say They Arrest Hackers After White House Staff
State-owned media in the United Arab Emirates are reporting that Dubai police have arrested a group of foreign hackers that targeted five White House officials in an email blackmail scheme. The Arabic-language Al Bayan newspaper and the television channel Dubai One reported the arrests on Monday. Dubai police did not answer repeated calls for comment. Al Bayan quoted Saud al-Khalidi of Dubai police as saying an "African gang" broke into the emails of the five senior officials and "got highly confidential information." He said the U.S. asked Dubai police for assistance. Charlotte Observer

Russia Condemns 'Absurd' U.S. Statement On Civilian Deaths In Mosul
Russia criticized the United States on Sunday for what it said were "absurd statements" justifying the American-led coalition's possible role in more than 100 civilian deaths in Mosul last month. "Absurd statements of the Pentagon representatives justifying civil casualties caused by American bombing in Iraq give more information on the operation planning level and the alleged supremacy of the American 'smart' bombs," Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in a statement from Russia's Ministry of Defense. Civilian fatalities were after a U.S. airstrike in the the city's al-Jadidah neighborhood on March 17. UPI

Judge Calls Trump 'Particularly Reckless,' Refuses To Throw Out Protesters' Case
A federal judge, ruling against the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by protesters regarding injuries allegedly sustained during a Donald Trump campaign rally in Louisvile, Ky., said the future president was "particularly reckless" in suggesting his supporters use violence. U.S. District Judge David J. Hale of the Western District of Kentucky rejected defense motions to dismiss the case brought by three protesters seeking unspecified damages after claiming they were assaulted by audience members during the rally on March 1, 2016. UPI

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An Egyptian president will visit the White House for the first time in seven years on Monday when Abdel Fattah al-Sisi sits down with US President Donald Trump. The meeting is expected to focus on shared security concerns in the region. Sisi and Trump have reportedly struck up a rapport in phone calls preceding Monday’s visit, including in exchanges over UN Security Council action on Israel, terrorist activity in the Sinai Peninsula and US foreign assistance to the Egyptian state. Jerusalem Post

Chancellor Hammond Leading UK Trade Mission To India
Chancellor Philip Hammond will lead a business delegation to India next week to drum up trade as the UK begins the process of leaving the EU. He will be joined by international trade minister Mark Garnier and Bank of England governor Mark Carney for the talks in New Delhi and Mumbai. Mr Hammond said boosting trade and investment "beyond the borders of Europe" was more important than ever. He said it was vital to make links with "the world's most vibrant economies". Last week Prime Minister Theresa May formally activated Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, starting a two-year countdown for quitting the 28-nation bloc. BBC

Helen Zille Faces Disciplinary After Colonialism Tweets
South Africa's opposition party has launched disciplinary action against its former leader after she tweeted colonialism was not all bad. The Democratic Alliance (DA) has been under pressure to sanction Helen Zille since she caused a storm of controversy with the tweets in March. It is feared it may have scuppered the party's electoral chances. On Sunday, the DA announced the anti-Apartheid activist stood accused of bringing the party into disrepute. DA leader Mmusi Maimane, who took over from Ms Zille in 2015, said it was not "an easy decision to take", but that he felt the social media posts had undermined the DA's project, to build a "a non-racial, prosperous democracy". BBC

White House Staffer's Tweet Calling For Primary Challenge Opens Republican Rift
The internal strife rending the Republican party continued on Sunday, as one member of the House Freedom Caucus pledged to defend another if a primary challenge from a Trump-backed candidate, controversially threatened by a White House aide, should ever come to pass. “Justin Amash is a good friend and one of the most principled members of Congress,” said Jim Jordan of Ohio, on CNN’s State of the Union. “Frankly, if he is primaried I’m going to do everything I can to help him.” Guardian

Leading Democrat Alleges Joint Effort To Distract From Trump-Russia Inquiry
Donald Trump’s White House and a Republican congressman who is supposed to be investigating Russian interference in the US election conspired to divert attention from Moscow’s actions, a senior Democrat alleged on Sunday. Adam Schiff accused Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, of colluding in an “attempt to distract” the public from concerns over potential links between Trump and Russian meddling. Schiff, the committee’s top Democrat, said on CNN’s State of the Union that Nunes and the White House had made an “effort to point the Congress in other directions, to basically say, ‘Don’t look at me, don’t look at Russia, there’s nothing to see here’.” Guardian

French Polling Watchdog Issues Warning After Russian News Report Claims Francois Fillon Regains Lead
France’s polling watchdog has issued a warning over what it says is a misleading Russian news report claiming that François Fillon, the scandal-struck conservative candidate, has regained the lead in the presidential race. The Polling Commission criticised a French-language report by Sputnik, a state-run Russian news agency, for presenting a social media survey by Brand Analytics, a Moscow-based online research firm, as a “poll” showing Mr Fillon as the front runner. In fact, French opinion polls, which are strictly supervised by the authorities, show Mr Macron leading on about 26 per cent, with Marine Le Pen, the Front National leader, one point behind. Telegraph

Cambridge University Dragged Into Row Over Donald Trump's Ex-Spy Chief's Links To Russia
A Cambridge University intelligence group whose members include a glamorous Russian student has been dragged into the escalating row over the Trump campaign’s potential links to the Kremlin. MPs have demanded an investigation into potential Russian interference in Britain amid fresh claims over the ties Michael Flynn – Mr Trump’s former national security adviser – has to Moscow. Mr Flynn has requested immunity in exchange for testifying before the FBI and congressional committees who are  investigating connections between the Trump campaign team and Russia. UN New

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