NEWS   TUESDAY, APRIL  4, 2017   NEWS

Grassley: 'Gorsuch Is Going To Be On The Supreme Court By Midnight Friday'
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee told Fox News' "The First 100 Days" Monday night that Judge Neil Gorsuch would be confirmed to the Supreme Court this week regardless of whether Democrats attempted to filibuster him. "Let me assure you that Judge Gorsuch is going to be on the Supreme Court by midnight Friday night," Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told host Martha MacCallum. "I can assure you that. One way or the other, he’s going to get the necessary votes to get there." Fox
VOA VIEW: Democrats are being petty and foolish.

Trump Donates First Quarter Paycheck To National Park Service
President Donald Trump donated his first presidential paycheck to the National Park Service, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Monday. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Harpers' Ferry National Park Superintendent Tyrone Brandyburg were on hand to accept the personal check for $78,333.32 on behalf of the park service. Zinke reminded the press corps of the slogan inscribed on Yellowstone National Park's Theodore Roosevelt Arch: "For the Benefit and Enjoyment of All People." He said that phrase is now considered the motto of his department. Fox News
VOA VIEW: How is the liberal media going to criticize this?

Meadows 'Intrigued' On Obamacare Change After Pence Meeting
President Donald Trump's administration had meetings Monday with two key groups of Republicans, whose split over health care policy caused GOP leaders to pull a plan last month to repeal and replace Obamacare. Emerging from a meeting Monday night with Vice President Mike Pence, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said his group was "intrigued" by an idea the White House floated to give states more flexibility to opt out of Obamacare regulations using a waiver process, but Meadows wouldn't promise the Freedom Caucus would be on board in the end. CNN

Fox News Hit With New Ailes Harassment Suit In Wake Of O'Reilly Bombshell
Still reeling from a bombshell report about its biggest star, Fox News on Monday was hit with a lawsuit filed by a contributor who accuses the network's founder, Roger Ailes, of sexual harassment. In the lawsuit, Julie Roginsky alleges that Ailes advised her to "engage in sexual relationships with 'older, married, conservative men' because 'they may stray but they always come back because they're loyal.'" During meetings, according to the complaint, Ailes "repeatedly insisted on a kiss 'hello' requiring Roginsky to bend down to kiss him." CNN
VOA VIEW: CNN likes the unrest.

With 'Action Guides,' Philly Mayor's Office Takes Aim At Trump Policies
Mayor Kenney’s communications office was swamped. It wasn’t even two months into President Trump’s term, and the calls, spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said, just kept coming in: Philadelphians asking about the president’s travel ban, his vows to defund sanctuary cities and repeal the Affordable Care Act, his proposed cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. “It was a constant barrage for the first two months – there was something new every day,” Hitt said. “We were constantly getting the same emails – from reporters, ‘What does this mean?’ And from citizens, ‘How can I help?’” Philadelphia Inquirer

White House Told To Keep All Of Trump’s Tweets For ‘History’
The National Archives and Records Administration has told the White House to keep each of President Donald Trump’s tweets, even those he deletes or corrects, and the White House has agreed. The head of the archives, David S. Ferriero, told two Democratic senators in a letter last week that the White House has assured him it’s saving all Trump’s Twitter blasts. The archives contacted the White House about the matter because the Presidential Records Act requires such correspondence to be preserved for history. Ferriero did not say when the agency contacted White House officials to remind them about the records requirement, but officials briefed the White House counsel’s office about the law on Feb. 2, according to the archivist’s letter to Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Tom Carper of Delaware. NY Post
VOA VIEW: Tweet history.

‘Sci-Fi’ Device Extends Survival For Brain Cancer Patients — For $21K A Month
It sounds like science fiction, but a cap-like device that makes electric fields to fight cancer improved survival for the first time in more than a decade for people with deadly brain tumors, final results of a large study suggest. Many doctors are skeptical of the therapy, called tumor treating fields, and it’s not a cure. It’s also ultra-expensive — $21,000 a month. But in the study, more than twice as many patients were alive five years after getting it, plus the usual chemotherapy, than those given just the chemo — 13 percent versus 5 percent. “It’s out of the box” in terms of how cancer is usually treated, and many doctors don’t understand it or think it can help, said Dr. Roger Stupp, a brain tumor expert at Northwestern University in Chicago. NY Post

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Interior Secretary: Ending War On Coal Necessary For Environmental Reasons, Jobs, National Security
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Monday at the White House that ending the war on coal was important for environmental reasons, jobs and national security. Zinke said he signed directives on his first day in office to expand public access to public lands - “important if you’re in the west, especially in the far west as Montana is.”
“We made sure we increased opportunities for traditional hunting, fishing, and conservation efforts, and we’ve invested millions across 12 states on preserving our conservation efforts there,” the Interior secretary said. “On energy, much of last week was held on energy. We held one of our most successful leases - 122,000 acres for wind development on federal lands off Kittyhawk, North Carolina,” Zinke said. CNS News
VOA VIEW: Obama started the war.

$6,474,000,000: Total Alcoholic Beverage Taxes Hit Record In 2016
Americans paid a record of approximately $6,474,000,000 in total alcoholic beverage sales taxes in fiscal 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But that was up only about $350,000 from the approximately $6,473,650,000 in alcoholic beverage sales taxes (in constant 2016 dollars) that Americans paid in fiscal 2015. At the same time, Americans paid less per capita in alcoholic beverage taxes in fiscal 2016 than they did in fiscal 2015. In fact, in the 25 years (1992-2016) of state and local tax numbers posted on the Census Bureau's online database for state and local taxes, per capita alcoholic beverage sales taxes (in constant 2016 dollars) peaked in fiscal 1992. That year, they hit $23.52 for every man women and child in the United States. CNS News
VOA VIEW: Blame Obama.

Homeland Security Announces Steps Against H1B Visa Fraud
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced steps on Monday to prevent the fraudulent use of H1B visas, used by employers to bring in specialized foreign workers temporarily, which appeared to fall short of President Donald Trump's campaign promises to overhaul the program. A White House official said Trump may still do more on the program. Trump had promised to end the lottery system for H1B visas, which gives each applicant an equal chance at 65,000 positions each year.
Lobbyists for businesses who rely on H1B visas, commonly used by the tech sector, had expected Trump to upend the lottery in favor of a system that prioritized workers who are highly skilled and would be highly paid in the United States. Reuters

U.S. Appeals Court Sets May Hearing On Revised Trump Travel Order
A U.S. appeals court said on Monday it would hold a hearing in May over a Hawaii federal judge's order that blocked President Donald Trump's revised travel restrictions on citizens from six Muslim-majority countries. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals previously upheld a Seattle judge's block of Trump's first travel order. The appeals court did not say on Monday which three judges would preside over the latest appeal. Trump signed the revised ban last month, in a bid to overcome legal problems with his January executive order that caused chaos at airports and sparked mass protests before its enforcement was halted in February. Reuters

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Trump Pulls Back Obama-Era Protections For Women Workers
With little notice, President Donald Trump recently signed an executive order that advocates say rolls back hard-fought victories for women in the workplace. Tuesday's "Equal Pay Day" — which highlights the wage disparity between men and women — is the perfect time to draw more attention to the president's action, activists say. On March 27, Trump revoked the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order then-President Barack Obama put in place to ensure that companies with federal contracts comply with 14 labor and civil rights laws. The Fair Pay order was put in place after a 2010 Government Accountability Office investigation showed that companies with rampant violations were being awarded millions in federal contracts. MSNBC
VOA VIEW: So it is said.

The Nuclear Option: What It Is And Why It Matters
The talk in Congress is all about "the nuclear option." Facing significant Democratic opposition, Republicans will likely have to use it to confirm Neil Gorsuch as President Donald Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court. Here we take a look at the nuclear option — what it is, how it works, its history and where the name comes from. What is "the nuclear option"? The "nuclear option" is a last-resort, break-in-case-of-emergency way for the majority party in the Senate to overcome obstruction by the minority. All it actually involves is changing the rules of the Senate so that a nominee like Gorsuch can be confirmed with a simple majority of 51 votes. Under current rules, 60 votes are needed to foil any attempt by the minority party to block a vote by use of the filibuster. MSNBC

‘Smoking Gun’: Susan Rice Asked For ‘Unmasking’ Of Trump Campaign Officials
The Obama administration’s national security adviser played a central role in “unmasking” several Trump campaign officials who had been swept up in U.S. surveillance operations against foreign targets during last year’s presidential election campaign, according to current White House officials and sources on Capitol Hill. Susan E. Rice requested that names be provided for otherwise unidentified U.S. people in dozens of raw intelligence reports relating to the Trump campaign, the sources told The Washington Times on Monday. While Ms. Rice’s actions and alleged interest in the Trump campaign appear to have been within her legal authority as national security adviser, the potentially explosive revelation has touched a nerve in Washington and stirred speculation that she could be called to testify on Capitol Hill about Russian election meddling. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Obama dirty work has been unmasked.

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Trump Administration Warns Companies On H-1B Visas: Hire Americans Over Foreign Guest Workers
The Justice and Homeland Security departments issued startling warnings Monday to companies applying for the country’s most prominent foreign guest-worker program, telling executives to look for Americans to fill those jobs first and promising more investigations and prosecutions of businesses that abuse the system. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is part of the Homeland Security Department, also released rules on Friday that could curtail the number of computer programmers who get H-1B visas, designated for specialty occupations that American companies have a tough time filling. Washington Times

Officer Betty Shelby Breaks Silence On Terence Crutcher Shooting
Last September in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a brief encounter between a black man, Terence Crutcher, and a white police officer, Betty Shelby, ended with Terence Crutcher’s death.  He was shot by Officer Shelby who goes on trial in May for manslaughter.  She faces four years to life in prison. The shooting was caught on videotape and inflamed the debate about race and policing that’s been roiling the nation since Ferguson. It’s very likely you have seen video of similar police shootings before. But it’s very rare to hear from the officer who pulled the trigger before a jury does. Tonight, Betty Shelby tells us why she shot and killed an unarmed black man and why she says almost any police officer in her situation would have done the same. CBS
VOA VIEW: The truth doesn't look good for blacks.

Jared Kushner's Foreign Policy Role Grows Despite Lack Of Experience
Thirty-six-year-old Jared Kushner has no diplomatic experience, but he’s become an envoy to foreign leaders, at times in place of the secretary of state. Before taking office, President Trump tasked his son-in-law with brokering peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. “If you can’t produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can,” Mr. Trump said to Kushner. Kushner also played a key role in February’s visit from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Can I reveal, Jared, how long we’ve known you?” Netanyahu said during a press conference. CBS

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Don't Look For Congress To Quickly Pass Overhaul Of Tax Code
After their humiliating loss on health care, Republicans in Congress could use a quick victory on a big issue. It won't be an overhaul of the tax code. Overhauling the tax code could prove harder to accomplish than repealing and replacing Barack Obama's health law. Congressional Republicans are divided on significant issues, especially a new tax on imports embraced by House Speaker Paul Ryan. And the White House is sending contradicting signals on the new tax, adding to the uncertainty. ABC

4 Subways Stations Closed After Bomb Threat
Four subway station in St. Petersburg are now closed following a bomb threat, the day after a bomb killed 14 people and wounded dozens. The Sennaya Square station in the city center was cordoned off on Tuesday, and commuters were told via a PA announcement that three more stations have also been closed down. A bomb went off on a subway train under Russia's second-largest city on Monday. A second device was found and deactivated.Tampa Tribune

Sean Spicer's Daily Press Briefings Are Must-See TV Drama In Washington
“Two minutes" someone shouts, and a hush settles over the room, jammed with reporters. Soon White House press secretary Sean Spicer steps to the podium with a cheery "good afternoon" and lighthearted crack about a Politico article chronicling his "curious habit" of using the adjective "phenomenal" to describe things that, in truth, aren't going well. Things quickly deteriorate into a familiar place: Spicer lacerating the news media and reporters blasting him with questions — combat that has made the daily press briefing must-see TV, at times beating ratings for General Hospital and other soaps, a spectacle that President Donald Trump himself tunes into. Tampa Tribune
VOA VIEW: A must see.

Syria Activists: Scores Dead In Idlib Chemical Attack
A Syrian opposition monitoring group has raised the death toll in a suspected chemical attack in northern Idlib province to 58. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the dead include 11 children and says the toll is likely to climb further because of the large number of injured. Syrian opposition activists have described Tuesday’s attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun as among the worst poison gas attacks in the country’s six-year civil war. USA Today

Federal Judge Blocks Indiana Abortion Ultrasound Mandate
A federal judge has blocked an Indiana mandate forcing women to undergo an ultrasound at least 18 hours before having an abortion, ruling that the requirement is likely unconstitutional and creates "clearly undue" burdens on women, particularly low-income women. U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt's ruling, issued late Friday, grants a preliminary injunction temporarily blocking the ultrasound waiting period. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana had sued the state last July, contending the mandate was unconstitutional and would prevent some women from getting abortions. ABC

Trump White House Pushes New Health-Care Deal, Lawmakers Say
The Trump administration is trying to persuade House Republicans to sign on to a new version of the health-care bill that they had to abandon last month in an embarrassing setback to their pledge to repeal Obamacare. Vice President Mike Pence and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus met with House conservatives late Monday to lay out the details of the plan, which one lawmaker said could allow states to charge sick people higher rates. President Donald Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, was also in the meeting. “We’re just talking,” Priebus said after leaving the meeting with the House Freedom Caucus. House GOP leaders said earlier that no health-care vote is planned, but several lawmakers, including a close ally of Trump’s, said they think a vote could still occur this week. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: Time will  tell.

Blackwater Founder Held Secret Seychelles Meeting To Establish Trump-Putin Back Channel
The United Arab Emirates arranged a secret meeting in January between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian close to President Vladi­mir Putin as part of an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication between Moscow and President-elect Donald Trump, according to U.S., European and Arab officials.
The meeting took place around Jan. 11 — nine days before Trump’s inauguration — in the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean, officials said. Though the full agenda remains unclear, the UAE agreed to broker the meeting in part to explore whether Russia could be persuaded to curtail its relationship with Iran, including in Syria, a Trump administration objective that would be likely to require major concessions to Moscow on U.S. sanctions. Washington Post

Kushner Has A Singular And Almost Untouchable Role In Trump’s White House
When Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, touched down in Iraq on Monday, his visit to the critical Middle East country preceded more traditional trips by either the president’s secretary of state or his national security adviser. Kushner’s unusual journey to Baghdad — including a break with standard security protocol by the White House — also underscores the singular role he occupies within the West Wing. In an administration riven by competing factions and led by a president who demands absolute loyalty, Kushner’s position — elevated and so far nearly untouchable — emanates from his familial relationship with the president, whom Kushner often refers to as “Donald.” Washington Post

Cambridge Council Votes To Uurge US House To Look At Trump Impeachment
The Cambridge City Council voted Monday night to call upon the U.S. House of Representatives to approve an investigation into whether sufficient grounds exist to impeach President Trump. In a vote Monday, seven city councilors voted in favor of a proposal that asks the House to authorize its Committee on the Judiciary to investigate possible violations Trump may have made in the foreign emoluments clause, domestic emoluments clause, or other constitutional clauses. One councilor voted against the proposal, and one councilor just voted as present. Boston Globe
VOA VIEW: Stupid wishful thinking.

VA Defending Work To Fix Troubled Veteran Suicide Hotline
The Department of Veterans Affairs is telling skeptical members of Congress that it has fixed problems with its suicide hotline that were highlighted in a critical recent internal watchdog report. A March 20 audit by the VA inspector general had found that nearly a third of calls to the Veterans Crisis Line as recently as November were bounced to back-up centers run by an outside contractor. The rollover calls happen when phone lines are busy, leading to possible waits of 30 minutes or more. It was unwelcome news for VA Secretary David Shulkin, who has made suicide prevention a signature issue in the troubled agency, riven with scandal since reports of delays in treatment at veterans hospitals last year. Approximately veterans take their lives each day. On Tuesday, the VA plans to tell the House Veterans Affairs Committee that the most serious issues with the veterans' crisis hotline have been resolved. Houston Chronicle

Tumbling Car Sales Drag Down US Auto Market In March
Passenger car sales plummeted again in March, dragging U.S. auto sales to their third straight monthly decline, a strong indication that years of sales growth have come to an end. Sales for the month fell 1.6 percent to just over 1.55 million vehicles, surprising analysts who expected a small increase. For now, anyway, the auto industry isn't worried. It's making solid money selling reams of SUVs and trucks to consumers who are loading up on expensive features. But some analysts see large inventories of cars as a looming problem. Car sales were down almost 11 percent, while truck and SUV sales rose 5.2 percent, according to Autodata Corp. Houston Chronicle

World’s Strongest Coffee Finally Available In U.S., But Beware Of Health Risks
A cup of the world’s strongest coffee has 1.7 times more caffeine than the Food and Drug Administration's daily recommended intake — and now, you can buy it by the pound on Amazon. According to CNN, Black Insomnia coffee was founded by Sean Kristafor, who launched the company last June and first began selling locally to cafes in Cape Town, South Africa. "If you want to stand out, you need to be the 'est' — the biggest, smartest, strongest, or cheapest," Kristafor said. So, he debuted a company that created the world’s strongest coffee, a coffee brand dubbed the “deadliest” of all by consumer information site Caffeine Informer. Atlanta Journal

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BMW Tops Mercedes For First Time In 2017, Narrowing The U.S. Luxury Race
BMW AG topped its rival in the U.S. luxury auto market for the first time this year, eeking out a monthly sales gain and gaining ground on Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz. Deliveries of the X3 and X5 sport utility vehicles climbed 43 percent and 35 percent last month, respectively, pacing BMW’s total sales of 31,015 vehicles. The Munich-based automaker outsold Mercedes by about 1,900 units in March. As plummeting demand for passenger cars led most automakers to miss analysts’ estimates last month, BMW managed to keep deliveries of its 3 Series and 5 Series models roughly flat compared with a year earlier. The victory in March pulled BMW to within 7,500 vehicle sales of Mercedes through the first three months of the year. Bloomberg

Trump Revokes Alaska Refuge Rule; Change May Be Symbolic
The state of Alaska's toolkit for increasing moose and caribou numbers includes killing wolf pups in dens, shooting wolf packs from helicopters, and adopting liberal hunting regulations that allow sportsmen to shoot grizzlies over bait. But when state officials wanted to extend "predator control" to federal wildlife refuges, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said no. And after years of saying no, the agency late last year adopted a rule to make the denial permanent. Alaska's elected officials called that an outrage and an infringement on state rights. The dispute reached the White House. Charlotte Observer

Surprise: That Certified First Responder To A Disaster May Be Your Neighbor
You may not know that hundreds of such volunteers have gone through intense training to earn those green vests — a legion of citizens certified as members of area Community Emergency Response Teams. Whatever might happen — ice storm, the electric grid shuts down, a terrorist bomb, hellfire, flood — these volunteers would self-deploy from their homes with their government-issued backpacks of tools to check on neighbors and organize help before emergency crews arrive. “We’re first-first responders,” said Walter Cox, 60, a member of the Kansas City team. “We help secure and make it safe … get people triaged and be ready to help direct ambulances and fire and police.” Kansas City Star

WikiLeaks' Assange A Winner In Ecuador Presidential Runoff
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is celebrating the results of Ecuador's presidential runoff with a blast at the losing candidate who had pledged to evict him from Ecuador's embassy in London. Assange has been holed up at the diplomatic mission since 2012, when President Rafael Correa granted him asylum. Before the election, conservative banker Guillermo Lasso had said he would evict the Australian activist, who is wanted for extradition by Sweden, within 30 days of taking office. Ruling-party candidate Lenin Moreno, the apparent winner in Sunday's tight race, said he would allow him to stay. Miami Herald

Trump's 'Honeymoon' Approval Rating Goes From Bad To Really Bad
President Donald Trump's approval rating dropped below 40 percent Monday, and the White House only wishes that were an April Fools' joke. The statistical analysis site FiveThirtyEight's job-approval tracker put the president's approval rating at 39.8 percent, by far the lowest of any newly elected president in recent history. To place this in perspective, the president with the next lowest score during the "honeymoon" period in the past 70 years was Gerald Ford. He managed a 50 percent approval rating vs. a 30.8 disapproval rating for a net of 19.2 percent. Trump's net approval rating by comparison is a -13.8 percent. SF Gate
VOA VIEW: The low numbers are liberal thinking - wrong.

Trump, Western Storms Cast Uncertainty On Colorado River
The situation last summer was as clear to accept as it was sobering. Prolonged drought had strained an already overallocated Colorado River, and nowhere was this more visible than at the reservoirs along the river. Behind the Hoover Dam, surface levels at Lake Mead, from which Las Vegas draws most of its water, dropped to a low not seen since the lake was filled in 1935. Water managers said states likely would face cuts to their supplies. As this threat swelled last year, the states that pull municipal and agricultural water from the lake — Arizona, California and Nevada — started negotiating a Drought Contingency Plan. Under the agreement, which was supported by the Obama administration, the states would voluntarily reduce Lake Mead intake during times of drought to prevent more severe mandatory cuts. The plan swould provide the states, especially Arizona, with more flexibility to plan for less water. Las Vegas Sun

Trump Steps Up Effort To Dispute And Distract On Russia
After weeks on the defensive, President Donald Trump has stepped up his efforts to dispute, downplay and distract from revelations stemming from the investigations into the Kremlin's interference in last year's election and possible Russian ties to his campaign associates. The White House says the real story is not about Russia — it's about how Obama administration officials allegedly leaked and mishandled classified material about Americans. Trump and his aides have accused former officials of inappropriately disclosing — or "unmasking" — the names of Trump associates whose conversations were picked up by U.S. intelligences agencies. Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: The liberal media has been fanning the flames on Russia.

White House Releases First Lady Melania Trump's Official Portrait
It wasn't the former model's first major photo shoot, but it might have been the most important for Melania Trump. On Monday, The White House released the first lady's official portrait. The image will be used in an official capacity for the next four years. "I am honored to serve in the role of first lady, and look forward to working on behalf of the American people over the coming years," she said in a statement. UPI

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‘IRAN ARMS MANUFACTURING FACILITIES IN LEBANON ARE NEW KIND OF THREAT’
Reports that Iran is building workshops and facilities to make advanced rockets inside Lebanon is a “huge development” that constitutes a “whole new kind of threat,” Chagai Tzuriel, director- general of the Intelligence Ministry, said Monday. Tzuriel, at a briefing organized by The Israel Project, attributed the reports to a Kuwaiti newspaper, but seemed to accept their veracity. If true, it would mean the Iranians and Hezbollah are trying to get around the difficulty of transferring arms over land through Syria to Lebanon by manufacturing them there instead. Israel reportedly, on a number of occasions, has attacked convoys moving potentially “game-changing” armaments over land through Syria. Jerusalem Post

SISI AND TRUMP MEET ON 'PROBLEM OF THE CENTURY'
After years being left in the cold by former president Barack Obama, Egyptian President Fattah al-Sisi was welcomed inside the White House for the first time on Monday to the warm embrace of President Donald Trump. The Egyptian leader had found common ground with America’s new president from their very first conversations during the White House transition period. Sisi was the first Arab leader to call Trump with congratulations on his victory, and they together coordinated against an effort at the UN Security Council to condemn Israel for its settlement activity. Jerusalem Post
VOA VIEW: Obama tactics failed.

Theresa May Defends UK Ties With Saudi Arabia
The prime minister is facing questions about the UK's support for the Saudi-led coalition which is fighting rebels in neighbouring Yemen. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said UK-made weapons were contributing to a "humanitarian catastrophe". But the PM said the UK was also a "significant donor" of aid. Speaking to journalists as she travelled to Jordan, which she is visiting before travelling to Saudi Arabia, Mrs May said humanitarian aid was one of the issues she would be discussing on her trip. BBC

Roman Polanski Jail Plea Rejected By US Judge
A judge rejected a motion by Polanski's lawyers who said he was willing to return to the US if he was assured he would not serve more time in jail. Prosecutors said he should not receive special treatment as a celebrity. Polanski, now 83, fled the US ahead of sentencing in 1978 after admitting having sex with a girl aged 13. "Judge (Scott) Gordon has ruled that (the) defendant's motions and corresponding requests are denied," a document released on Monday from Los Angeles Superior Court said. The hearing itself took place last month. BBC

Activist 'Upset' That Trump Staff Secretly Photographed Her Urinating
Rohan Beyts, an environment activist, has told a court she felt “really upset” after learning that Donald Trump employees had secretly photographed her allegedly urinating on his golf course. Beyts is suing the US president’s golf course in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, for breach of privacy after its executives called in the police over the incident in April 2016, accusing her of committing a public nuisance. A longtime campaigner against the resort, she accuses Trump International Golf Course Scotland, which denies the claims, of using photographs taken on mobile phones by two staff and a member of the public without her consent or knowledge, and is seeking up to £3,000 in damages. Guardian

Spouses Of US Immigrants On H-1B Visas Could Lose Their Right To Work
Thousands of people – mostly women – working legally in the United States under Obama-era rules could be forced to stop working under Trump. Currently, if someone has an H-1B visa, which allows skilled workers to come to the US temporarily, and has applied for lawful permanent residence, their spouse can apply to work under an H-4 employment authorization. “These are almost always highly educated women who are pretty awesome in their own right. They have masters degrees, doctorates and are capable of contributing a lot,” said Madhuri Nemali, a Silicon Valley immigration lawyer at Cameo Law Group, who has seen a surge in queries from concerned clients. Guardian

Cyborgs At Work: Swedish Employees Getting Implanted With Microchips
The syringe slides in between the thumb and index finger. Then, with a click, a microchip is injected in the employee's hand. Another "cyborg" is created. What could pass for a dystopian vision of the workplace is almost routine at the Swedish startup hub Epicenter. The company offers to implant its workers and startup members with microchips the size of grains of rice that function as swipe cards: to open doors, operate printers, or buy smoothies with a wave of the hand. The injections have become so popular that workers at Epicenter hold parties for those willing to get implanted. Telegraph

Former CIA Head 'Mystified' By White House Claim Of GCHQ 'Wiretapping'
John Brennan, the former director of the CIA has attacked the Trump administration's approach to fighting terrorism, and called his travel ban "simplistic" and "misguided". In a wide ranging interview Mr Brennan, gave his most scathing broadside yet against the president whose actions he classed as "mystifying" and offensive. Asked about whether he believed the new administration's use of the term "radical Islamic terrorism" was helpful in the battle to defeat Isil and other extremist groups, he responded: "No I don’t." Telegraph

Renewable Energy Sources Could Be Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels Within 10 Years
A new United Nations-backed report has revealed overwhelming consensus that renewable power will dominate in the future, with many experts saying that even large international corporations are increasingly choosing renewable energy products either from utilities or through direct investment in their own generating capacity. “[The report] is meant to spur discussion and debate about both the opportunities and challenges of achieving a 100 per cent renewable energy future by mid-century,” said Christine Lins, the Executive Secretary of Renewable Energy Police Network for the 21st Century (REN21) – a global renewable energy policy multi-stakeholder network hosted by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). UN News

Population Ageing And Decline ‘Key Focus’ As UN Commission Opens 50th Annual Session
The United Nations advisory body on issues related to population and development today kicked off its annual session, with a focus on changing population age structures and sustainable development. “Population ageing and population decline have now become key issues for a growing number of Member States,” Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Wu Hongbo told the opening segment of the Commission on Population and Development’s fiftieth annual session, which will run at UN Headquarters through 7 April. UN News

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