NEWS   TUESDAY, APRIL  11, 2017   NEWS

Rice Claim On Syria Chemical Weapons Gets 'Four Pinocchios'
Former Obama official Susan Rice’s claim just a few months ago that the Assad regime “voluntarily and verifiably” gave up its chemical weapons stockpile earned a full rebuke from a prominent fact-checker on Monday in the wake of last week’s chemical attack. The Washington Post fact-checker gave the former national security adviser a rating of “four Pinocchios” -- the worst rating on their truth scale. “The reality is that there were continued chemical-weapons attacks by Syria,” the Post wrote. This was after another fact-checking outfit, PolitiFact, retracted its “mostly true” rating for a 2014 claim from then-Secretary of State John Kerry that “100 percent” of those weapons were removed from Syria. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Rice is a proven liar - Syria has chemical weapons.

UN Tensions With Trump Administration Mount As Both Sides Dig In
An era of relative harmony between the United States and United Nations appears to be coming to an end, as President Trump's envoy takes on the international body's inclination toward inaction -- and U.N. leaders take swipes at the new administration in Washington. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley made clear last week that her tenure at the New York headquarters would mark a change in tone as she defended U.S. missile strikes against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad following a deadly chemical attack on citizens, including children. Haley accused the U.N. of "consistently" failing to act on Syria, while also forcing the Security Council into open session when one nation, Bolivia, apparently tried to discuss the strikes in private. Fox News

PRESIDENTIAL PASSOVER: TRUMP TO HOST WHITE HOUSE SEDER
The White House seder tradition will continue with US President Donald Trump at the helm, White House sources told Jewish Insider on Friday. While it is yet unknown if Trump's daughter Ivanka, who converted to Orthodox Judaism, and her husband Jared Kushner will attend the Monday evening ceremonial meal in celebration of Passover, it seems likely. Since Trump took office in November, Jared and Ivanka have both assumed White House roles. The Jewish world has watched as the first daughter and her husband received a special rabbinical pass to travel on Shabbat for the inauguration, held a Shabbat dinner at their home in the swanky Kalorama neighborhood of Washington DC, and even made hamentashen with their children to celebrate Purim. Jerusalem Post
VOA VIEW: A good Jewish Seder.

The Damning 2004 Report That Wells Fargo Chose To Ignore
An internal Wells Fargo report prepared 12 years ago -- in August 2004 -- eerily foretold the fake account scandal that has recently shaken Wells Fargo to its core.
That investigation, titled "Gaming," warned that Wells Fargo employees had an "incentive to cheat" that was "based on the fear of losing their jobs." It said that workers felt they couldn't meet the bank's unrealistic sales goals "without gaming the system." The 2004 report was sent to Wells Fargo's chief auditor, HR personnel and others. The Wells Fargo (WFC) task force even cautioned that the bank faced "reputational risks" with customers and recommended management consider eliminating the sales goals. CNN

North Korea Warns Of ‘War’ In Response To US Navy Moves
North Korea has vowed to defend itself using a “powerful force of arms” — should the US keep sending ships toward the Korean Peninsula, reports say. The Hermit Kingdom’s foreign ministry warned early Tuesday local time that it was ready for “war” in the event of further military moves like the one seen Sunday, when a US Navy strike group was sent to the region as a show of force against the communist nation. North Korean officials, who were quoted by state news agency KCNA, said the act displayed “reckless moves for invading” and was ultimately proof that tensions between President Trump and leader Kim Jong Un had “reached a serious phase,” according to the Agence France-Presse. NY Post

Cuomo’s Free Tuition Program Comes With A Major Catch
Gov. Cuomo’s much-heralded new program for free tuition at state colleges comes with a huge catch — you have to sign years of your life away to get it. Under a provision that was added to the tuition bill at the last moment, students who get a free ride at CUNY and SUNY schools must live and work in New York state for up to four years after graduation, or be forced to pay the money back. The amendment — which was not part of Cuomo’s original offer of free college for middle- class students — was added at the insistence of Republicans in the state Senate. NY Post
VOA VIEW: Not much of a catch.

Earthquake Early-Warning System Comes To Washington — But It’s Not For The Public Yet
Dan Ervin knew this day would come. He just didn’t think it would be so soon. “I never thought I would actually see this in my career,” said Ervin, chairman of the board of a Bothell engineering firm that’s the first company in Washington to begin using earthquake early warning. The breakthrough came last week, when the prototype ShakeAlert system in California was fully extended to include Washington and Oregon. That means all three states are now operating with the same technology, said Doug Given, project coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey. And while the system isn’t yet ready for public use, organizations like Ervin’s can start figuring out to what to do with a few seconds or minutes of warning before the ground starts shaking. Seattle Times

Police: 2 Dead In Shooting At San Bernardino's North Park Elementary
Two adults died in a shooting Monday in a classroom at San Bernardino, California's North Park Elementary School, in what is believed to be a murder-suicide, San Bernardino police said. A female victim was killed and a male died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, San Bernardino Police Lt. Michael Madden told reporters. The relationship between the man and the woman is unknown at this time. Two students were also injured, and are listed in critical condition at area hospitals, Madden said. The names and ages of the students are not being released, pending notification of family. Police do not believe the two children were targeted; they happened to be near the female adult in what may have been a multigrade classroom. CNN

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Arkansas Declares Pornography A 'Public Health Crisis' That Harms 'Our Country'
The Arkansas General Assembly has declared that "pornography has created a public health crisis," leading to a broad "spectrum" of public health "impacts and societal harms." The Assembly also stated that pornography can increase "the demand for prostitution and the sex trafficking and slavery of children and young adults, primarily girls." The Resolution, HR 1042, is an official recognition by the Arkansas government. It is not a law. It reflects the official view of the legislature and a copy of the Resolution is sent to the director of the Department of Health in Arkansas. Similar resolutuions have passed in South Dakota, Utah, and Virginia, and in the State Senate in Tennessee. The Arkansas resolution passed the Assembly on March 28. CNS News

Rubio: Mexico Will Not Pay For The Wall
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopolous” on Sunday that Mexico will not pay for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border like President Donald Trump promised, and if the U.S. thinks a wall is in their national interests, we should pay for it. “Well, we met with the foreign minister as well, and it did come up in our meeting, and let me just say, Mexico's not going to pay for the wall. And, by the way, America should, if we believe that's in our national interests to do so,” Rubio said. CNS News
VOA VIEW: Mexico will pay for the wall - one way or another.

Symantec Attributes 40 Cyber Attacks To CIA-Linked Hacking Tools
Past cyber attacks on scores of organizations around the world were conducted with top-secret hacking tools that were exposed recently by the Web publisher Wikileaks, the security researcher Symantec Corp (SYMC.O) said on Monday. That means the attacks were likely conducted by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. The files posted by WikiLeaks appear to show internal CIA discussions of various tools for hacking into phones, computers and other electronic gear, along with programming code for some of them, and multiple people familiar with the matter have told Reuters that the documents came from the CIA or its contractors. Symantec said it had connected at least 40 attacks in 16 countries to the tools obtained by WikiLeaks, though it followed company policy by not formally blaming the CIA. Reuters

Groups Sue To Obtain White House Visitor Logs
A coalition of nonprofit groups on Monday sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to obtain logs of visitors to President Donald Trump's homes. The lawsuit accused the Secret Service, which maintains the logs, of violating the law by ignoring several requests for lists of visitors to the White House, Trump Tower in Manhattan, and the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. Monday's complaint was filed in Manhattan federal court by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, the National Security Archive, and archive researcher Kate Doyle. Reuters

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United Airlines CEO Blames The Passenger In Forced Removal Incident
Several minutes after a passenger recorded a video watched around the world that showed security officers dragging another passenger off an overbooked United Express flight at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, a smaller snippet of video showed an even more troubling scene. There stood the passenger who had been dragged on his back to the front of the plane, appearing dazed as he spoke through bloody lips and blood that had spilled onto his chin. "I want to go home, I want to go home," he said. Philadelphia Inquirer

Reps. John Stefanski And Joe Stagni Were Sworn In Monday After Winning Elections Earlier This Year For Two Vacant Seats.
Stefanski, a Republican from Crowley, takes over the seat previously represented by Jack Montoucet, a Democrat who left when Gov. John Bel Edwards appointed him secretary of the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Stefanski is a lawyer and political newcomer. Stagni, a Republican chiropractor from Kenner, is a former city councilman who is filling out the remainder of the term of Thomas Willmott. Willmott, a Republican, was elected to the Kenner City Council. One House seat remains vacant, along with a seat in the state Senate. Special elections are planned to determine who will fill them. Keep up with local news, weather and current events with the WDSU app here. Sign up for our email newsletters to get breaking news right in your inbox. MSNBC
VOA VIEW: Republicans are the only way to go.

G7 Foreign Ministers Seek New Push To End Syria War
Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations are expected to call Tuesday for a new international push to end the war in Syria, but are divided on whether to threaten new sanctions or other tough measures to pressure Russia over its support of President Bashar Assad. The G-7 blames Assad's military for a deadly chemical attack last week. Ministers meeting in Lucca, central Italy, have strongly supported U.S. missile strikes that targeted a Syrian air base believed to have been used to launch the attack. Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said the U.S. intervention had offered "a window of opportunity to construct a new positive condition for the political process in Syria." Tampa Tribune

Rising Sea Level Grows As Threat To South Florida, U.S. Senators Told
As the Trump administration proposes cuts in programs dealing with climate change, witnesses told a Senate panel Monday that South Florida is experiencing worsening effects from rising sea levels. "While there are still some who continue to deny that this climate change is real, South Florida offers proof that it is real and is an issue we're going to have to confront in the decades ahead," said Sen. Bill Nelson, ranking Democrat on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, as he opened a hearing at West Palm Beach City Hall. At the hearing, held across the Intracoastal Waterway from President Trump's Palm Beach home, witnesses spoke of the ground-level impacts of climate change in South Florida, with flooding in Hollywood, Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale, threats to drinking-water supplies and an increased risk of damage from hurricanes. Sun Sentinel

UCLA Religion Professor Attacks Trump And Pence As ‘Arrogant Christians In The White House’
A professor who specializes in religious studies at University of California, Los Angeles says President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence represent “troubling trends in American Christianity.” Professor Carla Pestana of UCLA published “Arrogant Christians In The White House” over the weekend for The Huffington Post, which warns of a future America shaped by the “fundamentalist Christian” views of Mr. Pence and Mr. Trump’s “self-indulgence.” “Pence adheres to biblical literalism. Put simply, this view asserts that the Bible is a transparent document, one that prescribes specific behavioral guidelines,” Ms. Pestana wrote Saturday. “Its arrogance lies in the hubris of those who believe that only their chosen answers are correct. Washingotn Times
VOA VIEW: Expected from a liberal - no shame.

Trump Praises U.S. Navy Crews For Syria Operation, Calls Commanders
President Trump personally thanked the officers and crew of the USS Porter and USS Ross, the two American warships that bombed the Syrian airfield allegedly housing portions of the country’s chemical weapon stockpiles, for last week’s successful strike. In a Sunday call to Cmdrs. Andria Slough and Russell Caldwell, the skippers of the USS Porter and Ross, respectively, Mr. Trump praises the “speed, precision and effectiveness” in which the sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers carried out their mission, a White House readout of Sunday’s call said. Mr. Trump “could not be more proud of [their] crews… and their flawless execution of the operation,” according to the White House. Washington Times

Prostate Cancer Tests Qre Now OK With Panel, With Caveats
An influential U.S. government health panel is dropping its opposition to routine prostate cancer screening in favor of letting men decide for themselves after talking with their doctor.  The new draft guidelines echo those of several leading medical groups, but they don't make the decision any easier for men: With their doctor's help, they have to decide whether to take an imperfect PSA test that has a small chance of detecting a deadly cancer and a larger chance of triggering unneeded worry and treatment with serious side effects. Atlanta Journal

No Consensus In G7 On Sanctions On Russia
Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano says there is "no consensus" among G-7 countries for new sanctions on Russia over its support for Syria's Bashar Assad. Alfano says the idea was raised at a meeting in Lucca, Italy, by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. But Alfano said isolating Russia or pushing it into a corner "would be wrong." He says "the G-7's position is very clear — supporting the existing sanctions" against Russia over its military activities in Ukraine. Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano says Russia must not be "pushed into a corner" over Syria, as the Group of Seven ignored calls by Britain and the U.S. for new sanctions on Moscow over its support of President Bashar Assad. Houston Chronicle

Venezuela Protesters Target Maduro, Vow To Keep Up Pressure
Thousands of protesters demanding new elections faced off with security forces who launched tear gas and stood shoulder-to-shoulder blocking roadways in the Venezuelan capital Monday. Demonstrators covered their faces to protect against the plumes of tear gas that wafted through the streets of Caracas. A few threw rocks as they tried to make their way downtown waving Venezuelan flags and carrying signs decrying President Nicolas Maduro. "We need to get out on the street and fight, to tell these people we don't want them," said Maria Guedez, a 67-year-old homemaker carrying a sign that read, "No more dictatorship." Miami Herald

FCC Drops Its Proposal To Allow Cellphone Use On Planes
Federal regulators are withdrawing a proposal that would have allowed air travelers to use their cellphones at high altitude. The proposal - introduced in 2013 by Tom Wheeler, then chairman of the Federal Communications Commission - sought to roll back a long-standing regulation that banned the use of cellphones on planes over concerns that cellular signals could interfere with pilot radios. New advances in in-flight communications have minimized those concerns, Wheeler argued at the time, a trend that meant the ban could be lifted. Under the proposal, passengers would still have been required to keep their phones turned off or on airplane mode during takeoff and landing, but they could have switched on their connections at cruising altitude. SF Gate

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Hawaii Sees Spike In Brain-Infecting Parasite
Health officials in Maui, Hawaii, said six cases of a brain-invading parasite called rat lungworm disease have been reported on the island over the past three months.
Three of the cases have been confirmed, while a seventh involves a Maui woman who believes she contracted the parasite on the Big Island, Maui District Health Officer Dr. Lorrin Pang said Tuesday. Hawaii’s second largest island has seen only two cases of the disease -- known to the medical community as Angiostrongylus -- in the past decade. Rat lungworm disease is a condition in which parasitic worm larvae infect people’s brains. It is carried by rats and transmitted by snails and slugs.
Officials say residents can reduce the risk of contracting the potentially life-threatening disease by thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables before consumption. CBS

Neil Gorsuch Sworn In As Supreme Court Justice
Donald Trump welcomed all of the sitting justices on the Supreme Court to the White House Rose Garden for the swearing in of Neil Gorsuch to be his first Supreme Court justice. In remarks before Justice Anthony Kennedy administered the judicial oath to Gorsuch, Mr. Trump nodded to the idea some hold that “the most important thing a president does is appoint great people to the Supreme Court,” adding, “And I got it done in the first 100 days.” CBS
VOA VIEW: Full court (9).

County Considers Special Tax For Trump's Mar-A-Lago Visits
Commissioners in a Florida county are so tired of spending money on President Donald Trump's frequent visits to his Mar-a-Lago resort that some are suggesting a special tax be levied against the property if the federal government doesn't reimburse its costs. Palm Beach County spends more than $60,000 a day when the president visits, mostly for law enforcement overtime -- almost $2 million since January. Sheriff Ric Bradshaw says the county was expected to spend $250,000 during Trump's recent meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the president's sixth trip to his Winter White House in the 12 weeks since his inauguration. ABC

United Airlines Had A Right To Remove That Flier. But Should It Have?
United Airlines found itself at the center of controversy Monday after a video posted on Facebook showed a passenger being forcibly removed from an overbooked flight Sunday at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Several passengers reacted with horror as the man was pulled out of his seat and dragged toward the front of the plane by unidentified personnel. The flight from Chicago O'Hare to Louisville was operated by United Express affiliate Republic Airlines. United confirmed that a passenger had been taken off Flight 3411 on Sunday in Chicago, with CEO Oscar Munoz apologizing and pledging to “conduct our own detailed review of what happened.” USA Today

Club For Growth Aims To Muscle House Moderates Into Accepting Freedom Caucus Health Proposal
The conservative Club for Growth said Monday that it is targeting 10 moderate House Republicans with a $1 million ad campaign, offering a glimpse into the right’s strategy for pushing through a GOP health-care overhaul. The ads, set to begin Tuesday, come at the beginning of a two-week congressional recess — and after the latest bid to reconcile warring GOP lawmakers and resurrect the American Health Care Act fell short last week. But the Club for Growth sees a path to the bill’s passage: convincing more moderate — or less stridently conservative — Republicans to swallow a proposal favored by the House Freedom Caucus that would allow states to seek waivers of several Affordable Care Act insurance mandates. Those mandates form the core of the ACA’s protections allowing Americans with preexisting medical conditions to buy affordable insurance plans, and numerous lawmakers have balked at the request. Washington Post

Remember Mitt Romney’s ‘Binders Full Of Women?’ They’re Real. And We Got Them.
In the world of important political documents — from the Magna Carta to the Pentagon Papers — there are also those known for more pedestrian reasons. Count Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” in that category. For those who don’t recall, Romney mentioned the binders during a 2012 presidential debate in which he was questioned about workplace inequality. He awkwardly referred to the “binders full of women” he had considered for state posts after he was elected governor. Critics pounced on his response as clumsy at best, patronizing at worst. Late-night comics had a field day. For all the high-stakes attention they drew, the binders themselves never surfaced. Until now. Boston Globe

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Tsarnaev Denied Extremism To FBI, Said Mystery Men Came To See Him
The FBI has released a summary of an interview summary that agents conducted with Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev in April 2011, two years before the April 2013 bombing, and it includes Tsarnaev's claim that four mysterious men claiming to be FBI agents had previously tried to contact him. The document, called a 302, does not speculate on who the four men might have been. Prior to the FBI interview, Russian intelligence was aware of Tsarnaev and had alerted the FBI that he had traveled to Chechnya, a region known for Islamist training camps. Tsarnaev was approached by the FBI Boston Field Office after Russian intelligence told the FBI of his travels abroad. MSNBC

Toyota Announces $1.33 Billion Investment In Kentucky Plant
Toyota said Monday it is investing $1.3 billion to retool its sprawling factory in Georgetown, Kentucky, where the company's flagship Camry sedans are built. No new factory jobs are being added, but Toyota says the upgrades amount to the biggest single investment ever at one of its existing plants in the United States. The retooling also will sustain the existing 8,200 jobs at Toyota's largest plant, where nearly one-fourth of all Toyota vehicles produced in North America are made, the automaker said. "This major overhaul will enable the plant to stay flexible and competitive, further cementing our presence in Kentucky," said Wil James, president of the plant, which also assembles the Avalon and the Lexus ES 350. ABC

Japan Crown Prince: Malaysia Can Be Model For Diversity
Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito says Malaysia's success is based on its diversity and tolerance, and the country can be a model for a world faced with conflicts. Naruhito, the oldest son of Emperor Akihito, is first in line to the Chrysanthemum throne. Ahead of his visit to Malaysia this week, he told a rare news conference at his palace Tuesday that he looks forward to learning from the country's experience in using its ethnic, religious and cultural diversity as a source for development. He said Malaysia's contribution to regional cooperation is also an important asset for the rest of Asia and the world. During his four-day trip to Malaysia, Naruhito is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Najib Razak, as well as Malaysian students and Japanese residents. Charlotte Observer

Can Democrats Cuss Their Way Back To The White House?
An old political maxim holds that politicians campaign in poetry but govern in prose. But after voters rewarded Donald Trump despite – or perhaps because of – his plain, often expletive-prone rhetoric, Democrats are suddenly quite eager to adopt the language of America’s president. From the party’s new chairman to a senator many believe will run for the White House in 2020, Democrats are letting loose four-letter words in public speeches and interviews, causing a small stir, at least in political circles, where swearing in public is usually off limits. “Republicans don’t give a s--- about people,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said last month, drawing criticism from GOP officials not only for the sentiment but also for the words he employed to convey it. Charlotte Observer
VOA VIEW: Republicans are not as tough as Democrats - fact.

Who Is 'Mel'? US Terror Case May Unmask New York Police Mole
For years, a woman named "Mel" mingled with young Muslims in New York, telling them she was a Turkish convert to the faith looking for friends. In reality, she was a cop working for the New York Police Department. Her true identity and the full nature of her work remains a guarded secret, but, thanks partly to social media, she may be unmasked as part of an upcoming trial of two women accused of plotting a homemade bomb attack. By combing the web, attorneys for the two defendants, Noelle Velentzas and Asia Siddiqui, say they have obtained the agent's photograph and learned her real name. And in recent weeks, they got a judge's permission for a plan to circulate her picture at area mosques in order to build a case that their clients were entrapped by someone fishing for harmless people to lure into a phony plot. Kansas City Star

Yellen Says Fed's Focus Has Shifted To Holding Growth Gains
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the U.S. central bank’s task has shifted from a post-crisis exercise of healing the economy to one aimed at holding on to progress made. “Before, we had to press down on the gas pedal trying to give the economy all of the oomph that we possibly could,” Yellen said Monday in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Fed is now trying to “give it some gas, but not so much that we’re pushing down hard on the accelerator.” Yellen and her colleagues are aiming to ease back significantly this year on the level of support the central bank is providing the U.S. economy as they close in on their goals of full employment and 2 percent inflation. Policy makers have penciled in two additional rate hikes this year, on top of one executed in March. Bloomberg

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Drillers In Biggest U.S. Gas Play Get More Bang For Their Buck
Natural gas drillers in America’s biggest shale play are getting more bang for their buck than ever before. Thanks to new pipelines and technological advances, producers in the Northeast can now tailor their output to the rise and fall of gas prices. Production from the region’s Marcellus and Utica basins appears to lag price moves at key regional hub Dominion South by three days, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance research. In 2015, no correlation was seen between the hub and output. Six months after Northeast gas prices plunged to a record low as pipeline bottlenecks left supplies trapped in the region, new links like Spectra Energy Corp.’s Algonquin Incremental Market project are allowing drillers including Antero Resources Corp. and Range Resources Corp. to send their production to different markets in response to regional price moves. Meanwhile, remote-controlled well heads make it possible for explorers to fine-tune output. Bloomberg

Russia Knew In Advance Of Syrian Chemical Attack
The United States has concluded Russia knew in advance of Syria's chemical weapons attack last week, a senior U.S. official said Monday. The official said a drone operated by Russians was flying over a hospital as victims of the attack were rushing to get treatment. Hours after the drone left, a Russian-made fighter jet bombed the hospital in what American officials believe was an attempt to cover up the usage of chemical weapons. The official said the presence of the surveillance drone over the hospital couldn't have been a coincidence, and that Russia must have known the chemical weapons attack was coming and that victims were seeking treatment. Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: So much for the Russia/Trump connection.

Trump Discusses Syria Strikes With British Prime Minister
President Donald Trump has spoken with British Prime Minister Theresa May about U.S. strikes in Syria in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack on civilians. The British Embassy in Washington says Trump thanked the prime minister Monday "for her support in the wake of last week's U.S. military action against the Assad regime." The statement says there now exists "a window of opportunity" to convince Russia that its alliance with Syrian President Bashar Assad is no longer in its strategic interest. They both expressed hope that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will make progress toward "a solution which will deliver a lasting political settlement" when he visits Moscow next week. Las Vegas Sun

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley Resigns Over Sex Scandal
After mounting pressure, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley resigned late Monday afternoon amid impeachment hearings and possible prosecution linked to a sexual affair with a senior political adviser. Bentley announced his decision to leave office as part of a deal to resign, plead guilty to two misdemeanors and vow never to hold public office again. The agreement also requires Bentley to repay the state nearly $9,000 in misused funds, serve a year of probation, perform 100 hours of community service as a physician, and forfeit the more than $36,000 in his campaign fund. UPI

Rory McIlroy: I'd Think Twice About Playing Golf With President Trump Again
Rory McIlroy was raised Roman Catholic in Holywood, Northern Ireland, so he knows about politics and social issues. McIlroy said he probably never will play golf in the Olympic Games because Northern Ireland does not have a team, so he must decide between Ireland or Great Britain since his country is under the British Crown.
Every time he has indicated he might play for one or the other, he has heard backlash from the other side, so he figures it's simply not worth it. UPI News

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ISIS CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR ROCKET ATTACK ON SOUTHERN ISRAEL
The Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for a rocket attack that landed in landed in a greenhouse in the southern Eshkol Regional Council on Monday, according to ISIS linked news agency Amaq. According to the IDF, the projectile was launched from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. One person suffered from shock as the result of the strike, however no other injuries were reported. The IDF said security forces were sweeping the site of impact. The attack came as Jews in Israel were preparing for the holiday of Passover, and shortly after the government decided to close its side of the Taba Border Crossing between Eilat and Egypt in light of concerns of terrorist attacks targeting tourists in the volatile Sinai region. Jeruslem Post

Syria War: US Missiles 'Took Out 20% Of Aircraft'
A US air strike in response to a suspected chemical attack damaged or destroyed 20% of Syria's operational aircraft, the US has said. Defence Secretary James Mattis said Syria would be "ill-advised ever again to use chemical weapons". Syria has denied a chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun last week that left 89 people dead. G7 nations are meeting in Italy to discuss policy and how to persuade Russia to abandon its Syrian ally. The US fired 59 cruise missiles at Syria's Shayrat airbase last Thursday, following the suspected chemical attack a day before. BBC

Global Executions Fall 37% Since 2015, Amnesty International Says
The number of executions recorded worldwide in 2016 fell by 37% on the previous year, human rights group Amnesty International says. At least 1,032 people were executed last year, down from 1,634 in 2015, Amnesty said. The fall was largely driven by fewer deaths recorded in Iran and Pakistan. China is believed to have executed more than all countries combined but has not been included in the figures given the lack of reliable data, the group adds. The US was removed from the top five for the first time since 2006, according to Amnesty. BBC

White House Warns Of Potential US 'Red Line' Over Syria Barrel Bomb Attacks
The Trump administration on Monday signalled much broader grounds for future military intervention in Syria, suggesting it might retaliate against the Assad regime for barrel bomb attacks. On the eve of a critical visit to Moscow at a time of high US-Russian tensions over Syria, the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, appeared to go even further, saying his country would come to the defence of innocent civilians “anywhere in the world”. The administration had initially stressed strictly limited objectives for a cruise missile strike last week on a Syrian air force base, saying it was intended to deter the repeat of a chemical attack on Tuesday against civilians and that the focus of US efforts in Syria remains combating the Islamic State (Isis). Guardian

Wells Fargo Takes Back $75m From Ex-Executives After Fake Accounts Scandal
Wells Fargo has clawed back $75m from two former top executives after an internal report concluded management had little interest in dealing with an overly aggressive sales culture that dated back at least 15 years until that culture spiraled out of control, resulting in millions of accounts being opened fraudulently. The bank’s board clawed $75m in pay from former CEO John Stumpf and community bank executive Carrie Tolstedt, saying both dragged their feet for years regarding problems at the second-largest US bank. Both were ultimately unwilling to accept criticism that the bank’s sales-focused business model was failing. Guardian

Theresa May And Donald Trump Agree 'Window Of Opportunity' Exists To Persuade Russia To Break Ties With Syria's Assad
The US president and British Prime Minister spoke on Monday evening, with Mr Trump thanking Mrs May for her support following the air strikes he launched against the Assad regime last week. A Downing Street spokesman said: "The Prime Minister and the president agreed that a window of opportunity now exists in which to persuade Russia that its alliance with Assad is no longer in its strategic interest. Telegraph

Ivanka Trump Encouraged My Father To Launch Air Strikes Against Assad In Syria After Chemical Weapons Attack, Says Eric Trump
Eric Trump has said he is "sure" his sister Ivanka used her influence over their father to encourage the US president to launch military action against Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Donald Trump ordered air strikes against a Syrian air base last Thursday night in response to a chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime on Tuesday that killed at least 87 people including more than 30 children. “Ivanka is a mother of three kids and she has influence. I’m sure she said: ‘Listen, this is horrible stuff,’" Eric Trump told the Telegraph. Telegraph

Money Migrants Send Home A ‘Critical Lifeline’ For One In Seven People Worldwide
Despite the political fire drawn by the ongoing migrant crisis in Europe and beyond, a senior official from the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) today highlighted the vital development benefit of the nearly half a trillion dollars that migrants send home each year to poor families and countries. “We hear concerns raised about migrants and refugees entering countries, but let’s not forget that the money they send home, particularly to countries where conflict or environmental disasters are taking a toll, actually helps stabilize families and rebuild communities,” Adolfo Brizzi, Director at IFAD, told an event entitled ‘Money Talks – Why Migrants Matter’ during the Perugia International Journalism Festival in Italy. UN News

Malala Yousafzai Designated Youngest-Ever UN Messenger Of Peace
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today designated children’s rights activist and Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai as a UN Messenger of Peace with a special focus on girls’ education. “You have been to the most difficult places […] visited several refugee camps. Your foundation has schools in Lebanon, in the Beka’a Valley,” said Mr. Guterres at a ceremony in the Trusteeship Council chamber at UN Headquarters, in New York. “[You are a] symbol of perhaps the most important thing in the world, education for all,” he highlighted. UN News

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