Congress Expands 'Unmasking' Probe Amid Questions Over Rice Role
The House and Senate intelligence committees are expanding their investigation into the so-called “unmasking” controversy, Fox News has learned, to examine whether other candidates or lawmakers beyond President Trump’s associates were affected. Until now, the investigation focused on how the identities and communications of Trump transition members were collected by U.S. intelligence agencies and then revealed to, and disseminated among, high-ranking members of the Obama administration. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Obama was dirty and foolish.

Russia: US Missile Strike On Syria Broke The Law
Russia's top diplomat accused the United States on Wednesday of breaking the law by attacking Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces -- a cold welcome for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. "We have seen very alarming actions recently with an unlawful attack against Syria," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, referring to the cruise missiles President Trump was said to order, days after the U.S. accused Syria of launching a chemical attack on its own people. "We consider it of utmost importance to prevent the risks of replay of similar action in the future." Fox News
VOA VIEW: Expected from Russia.

Kansas Gives GOP 'Warning Sign' Over Georgia Special Election
The surprisingly close results of Tuesday's special election for a House seat in deep-red Kansas should serve as "a warning sign" to the GOP, Sen. Ted Cruz said Wednesday. The contest showed the massive shift in the electorate since voters elected Donald Trump President in November. He had carried the Kansas district by 27 percentage points but on Tuesday, Republican Ron Estes only bested Democrat Jim Thompson for the seat previously represented by new CIA Director Mike Pompeo by 7 points. Though it's far too early to know whether those Democratic gains will hold through the 2018 midterm elections, Kansas was an ominous sign for the GOP ahead of a much closer Georgia 6th District special election next week in Atlanta's northern suburbs -- as well as other upcoming special elections in Montana and South Carolina. CNN
VOA VIEW: A win is a win - liberals had it wrong again.

U.S. Dollar Drops Sharply After Trump Calls It 'Too Strong'
President Trump caused the U.S. dollar to slump Wednesday. The dollar dropped 0.7%, a major move, after Trump told the Wall Street Journal that the dollar is "getting too strong." "I think our dollar is getting too strong, and partially that's my fault because people have confidence in me," Trump said. "But that's hurting -- that will hurt ultimately." The dollar hit its highest level in 13 years shortly after Trump won the election. It was widely viewed as a sign that investors believe America will grow faster than other parts of the world. But now the dollar might be getting too mighty. The president is worried that US businesses, especially manufacturers, won't be able to compete. American goods are more expensive relative to European or Japanese products when the dollar's value is too high. CNN


Cut Federal Workforce?! What About Employee Morale, The Local Economy, Reporters Ask WH
“We think we can run the government more efficiently than the previous administration can, and we think we can run the government with fewer people than the previous administration had,” White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters on Tuesday, as he announced plans for a major government restructuring effort. Under new guidance coming out today, some federal agencies will end up hiring more people (Defense, Veterans Affairs), while others (EPA) will be expected to cut their workforce. A reporter asked Mulvaney about the morale of federal workers: “How are you addressing that? Because I think what’s going to happen is employees are going to get depressed.” CNS News
VOA VIEW: There was a lot of waste - Obama was wasteful.

NC House Bill: U.S. Supreme Court Exceeded Authority Of 'Almighty God' In Creating Gay Marriage
Members of the North Carolina General Assembly introduced a bill on Tuesday, citing the 10th Amendment, which affirms that the U.S. Supreme Court exceeded its authority under the Constitution and in relation to the "decree of Almighty God" by legalizing same-sex marriage, and contends that the Obergefell v. Hodges decision "is null and void" in North Carolina and that the Tar Heel state shall only recognize marriages between one man and one woman. The legislation explains that North Carolina seeks to follow the 2012 law that was established in Section 6 of Article XIV of the North Carolina Constitution, which defines marriage as being between one man and one woman. The new bill would also affirm that same gender marriages performed in other staes are not valid in North Carolina. Reuters
VOA VIEW: NC has taken a very strong stand.

Civil Liberties Groups Sue U.S., Seek Details On Travel Ban
Civil liberties groups on Wednesday said they were filing a series of lawsuits against the U.S. government seeking details on how federal agencies enforced President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries. The lawsuits were filed by local chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union against U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security and cover their operations in 14 cities stretching from Portland, Maine, to San Diego. The suits are an attempt to enforce requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) just days after Trump signed his first executive order limiting travel. Reuters

Trump’s Tax Returns Will Be Immediately Under Audit
For the average taxpayer, the odds of being audited by the Internal Revenue Service are just 0.7%. Unless you're President Trump, in which case your chance of an audit rises to 100%. It's not just that his net worth and more than 500 partnerships make him a likely audit target under IRS policies designed to direct its enforcement efforts to the richest taxpayers. Under an obscure Internal Revenue Service rule, the tax returns of the president and vice president are automatically audited, every year, no exceptions. That rule has been in place in one form or another since the Nixon administration, and it details the process for auditing presidential tax returns in minute detail — even down the color of folder they must be kept in. USA Today
VOA VIEW: Starts at the top.

Poll Shows Trump Remains Popular Among His Massachusetts Supporters
President Donald Trump remains popular among the Massachusetts voters who supported him during the election, according to a new WBUR poll. The survey, conducted by MassINC Polling Group for the public radio station, found that 80 to 90 percent of Trump voters in central Massachusetts towns and cities that went to the Republican still view him positively and believe he’ll fulfill his campaign promises. Massachusetts Trump voter Jim Wiswell told WBUR he’d give the Republican “higher marks” than the Obama administration. “You know, it’s a learning process, the same as anything else,” Wiswell said. “You know, he’s only been in there, what, 70-something days. You know, I think he will do a good job for us.” Boston Globe
VOA VIEW: Trump remains popular with all who voted for him and than some.

Uproar Over United Video Imperils Chicago Airport Police
The video of a passenger being dragged by an officer from a United Express flight shined an unwanted spotlight on the little-known police force that guards Chicago's two main airports and could threaten the agency's future. Chicago's aviation officers are not part of the regular police force, unlike in many other big cities. They get less training than regular officers and can't carry firearms inside the airports. Three of them were put on leave amid outrage over how they treated the passenger. Cellphone footage of the confrontation "really has put it at risk," Alderman Chris Taliaferro said Wednesday, a day before aldermen were scheduled to grill United and the Chicago Aviation Department about why a Kentucky physician was yanked out of his seat after he refused to get off the full jetliner at O'Hare Airport. Atlanta Journal

Merkel Seeks Good Ties With Trump, Despite Differences
Chancellor Angela Merkel says it's in Germany's interest to have good relations with the United States, despite disagreeing with President Donald Trump on important issues. Merkel told Germany's Funke media group in an interview published Thursday that conversations with Trump during her visit to Washington and in subsequent phone calls had been "good." She added "this naturally doesn't rule out that we have different opinions on some points, including on important questions." Merkel acknowledged that military action against the Islamic State group was necessary, but said only a political solution would bring about lasting peace in Syria and Iraq. She said an expansion of Germany's contribution in the fight against extremists groups "isn't up for debate." Houston Chronicle
VOA VIEW: Merkel is not good for Trump.

Your Smartphone Is Changing The Human Race In Surprising Ways
Will a baby born in 2017 ever unfold a map to determine the best driving route from New York City to a small town in Massachusetts? Will that baby memorize a phone number other than his or her own? Will they grow up to be a smarter man or woman because their mind is no longer cluttered with mundane facts and the processes technology can do for us? Psychologists and neuroscientists don't know these answers yet. But they're beginning to understand how spending every waking moment within reach of Internet-connected devices is affecting our lives. "We've never had a technology that we use so intensively for so many different things," says Nicholas Carr, author of "The Glass Cage: How Computers Are Changing Us." MSNBC


Trump Reverses On NATO: ‘It Is No Longer Obsolete’
President Donald Trump reversed his stance on NATO being "obsolete" Wednesday — a 180-degree turn on a key campaign complaint that the military alliance was no longer equipped for the fights ahead, specifically when it comes to terrorism. During a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg, Trump said NATO "is no longer obsolete" because it has adapted to focus on handling the threat of terror. MSNBC
VOA VIEW: Time will tell.

Trump: ‘The World Is A Mess’
President Trump praised the work of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on his trip to Moscow Wednesday, despite Mr. Tillerson’s assessment that U.S. relations with Russia are at a low point. At a White House press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Mr. Trump started by mentioning “the great work being done by our secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, to strengthen our alliance.” “He did a terrific job,” Mr. Trump said, noting that he had watched some of Mr. Tillerson’s press conference on television. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: A good view that few know and understand.

British Official: South Sudan Violence Is Tribal Genocide
South Sudan's civil war is now genocide, with violence perpetrated along tribal lines, a senior British official said, urging African leaders to do more to end the conflict in which tens of thousands of people have been killed. Priti Patel, the U.K. secretary of state for international development, said there are "massacres taking place, people's throats being slit" amid what she called a "scorched earth policy" in South Sudan's three-year war. "It's tribal, it's absolutely tribal, so on that basis it's genocide," she said of the violence, speaking to The Associated Press on Wednesday night. Her comments are the rare declaration by any government official of genocide in South Sudan. Patel spoke after visiting South Sudan, where she met President Salva Kiir, whose government repeatedly has been accused of blocking food aid to some areas and harassing aid workers. Charlotte Observer

‘Steve Is A Good Guy, But …’: Trump Undermines Bannon, Whose Job May Be In Danger
Stephen K. Bannon, President Donald Trump’s grenade-lobbing pugilist of a chief strategist, has a fitting nickname for his West Wing office: “The war room.” But more and more, war is being waged on Bannon himself. And it is unclear how much longer he can survive in his job. His isolation inside the White House, after weeks of bitter battle with other senior aides aligned with Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, appeared to grow even starker this week after Trump undercut Bannon in an interview and downplayed his role as the Trump campaign’s chief executive. Kansas City Star
VOA VIEW: Relying on his family may prove a problem for Trump.

Do Private Prisons Save Money As Promised? Maybe Not, But Legislature Keeps Approving
When he was first elected, Florida Gov. Rick Scott was so determined to meet his campaign promise of saving $1 billion on prisons that he pushed through a series of contracts with private operators that on paper claimed to produce millions in annual savings. But the promised savings have never materialized, according to audits done by Rep. David Richardson, a Miami Beach Democrat who has been a one-man investigation unit into Florida’s troubled prison system. Many of the contracts, which were required to save at least 7 percent a year, actually cost the state more money than taxpayers would have spent if the programs had never been privatized. In some cases, he also found, medical care and access to programming in the private facilities was often worse. Miami Herald

Trump Brags About ‘Beautiful’ Chocolate Cake Served During Attack On Syria
During a recent interview with Fox Business, Donald Trump condemned Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, but said he didn't intend to send the US military to the country. Trump then added of Al Assad, "If Russia didn’t go in and back this animal, you wouldn’t have a problem right now. Frankly, Putin is backing a person thats truly an evil person. I think it's very bad for Russia, very bad for mankind, and very bad for this world. President Trump said Chinese president Xi Jinping was eating “the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen” when he was informed the United States launched an airstrike against Syria — and Twitter quickly reacted, mocking POTUS. Trump made the comments during an interview with Fox Business Network host Maria Bartiromo that aired on Wednesday morning. Xi was visiting Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate when the military strikes were launched, and Bartiromo asked how he told the Chinese leader of the attack. SF Gate

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Sean Spicer Apologizes Again For Hitler, Holocaust Gaffe
White House press secretary Sean Spicer apologized again Wednesday for his comparison of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler the day before. “I made a mistake ... there’s no other way to say it. I got into a topic that I shouldn’t have, and I screwed up. I hope people understand that we all make mistakes. I hope I showed that I understand that I did that,” he told NBC News’ Greta Van Susteren at a Newseum forum on President Trump’s relationship with the press. On Tuesday, Spicer had told reporters that Hitler “didn’t even sink ... to using chemical weapons,” a comment which ignored the mass killing of Jews in Nazi gas chambers in the Holocaust.  “It’s a very holy week for both the Jewish people and the Christian people, and this is -- to make a gaffe and a mistake like this is inexcusable and reprehensible. CBS

Do Americans Think President Trump Is Doing A Good Job?
As President Trump approaches the end of his first 100 days in office -- a milestone that will occur later this month -- how do Americans rate his performance on the job? Not particularly well, according to a spate of recent polls that show the president’s approval ratings underwater -- though just how far underwater they are depends on which survey you consult. A CBS News poll released Sunday found that 43 percent of Americans approve of the job Mr. Trump is doing as president, while 49 percent disapprove -- a net disapproval of six percent. CBS
VOA VIEW: The liberal media say no - the truth is yes.

Clinton Lauds Free NY Tuition Plan As A Progressive First
Hillary Clinton says the nation's first free college tuition plan approved by New York state lawmakers can be a model for other states and can eventually pave the way for nationwide reforms that were championed by Democrats during the 2016 presidential election. The former Democratic presidential nominee rallied with Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City for a ceremonial bill signing of the state's new scholarship for poor and middle-class students. ABC
VOA VIEW: Clinton is still a loser regardless what she says.

GOP Wants Trump To Reopen Criminal Probe Into Ex-IRS Exec Lerner
Two top Republicans asked the Justice Department on Wednesday to take a new look at the evidence against former IRS senior executive Lois G. Lerner to see whether charges should still be brought against her for targeting Tea Party groups and losing key evidence in the case. Ms. Lerner was cleared after an investigation by the Obama administration but Reps. Kevin Brady and Peter Roskam, respectively the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and the panel’s tax policy subcommittee, say there are plenty of questions with how that probe was run, and said that a new look by the Trump administration’s Justice Department is warranted. Washington Times


Tough Texas sanctuary cities bill moves closer to approval
A tough Texas anti-sanctuary-cities bill that threatens to throw county sheriffs and small-town constables in jail if they refuse to help enforce federal immigration law looks to be on the fast-track toward passage in the state's Republican-controlled Legislature. The proposal cleared a House committee 7-5 without debate Wednesday, setting up a floor vote soon. Opponents had hoped the House would soften a strict bill approved in February by Texas' Senate, but those tweaks made in committee shouldn't mitigate much. Untouched was a hotly debated provision allowing for criminal charges against city or county officials who intentionally refuse to comply with federal authorities' attempt to deport people in the country illegally who already have been jailed on crimes unrelated to immigration. Elected officials could face up to a year in jail and lose their posts if convicted of official misconduct. ABC

Trump Says NATO Allies Must Meet Defense Spending Obligation
President Donald Trump, who said in January that NATO was “obsolete” and accused allies of delinquency, again demanded on Wednesday that they pay more for their own defense while reaffirming his commitment to the alliance as tensions rise between the U.S. and Russia over the conflict in Syria. “In facing our common challenges we must also ensure that NATO members meet their financial obligations and pay what they owe,” Trump said at a White House news conference after meeting with Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. “If other countries pay their fair share instead of relying on the United States to make up the difference, we will all be much more secure and our partnership will be made that much stronger.” Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: NATO members must pay their fair share.

Trump Drops Campaign Promise To Label China A Currency Manipulator
President Donald Trump said he won’t brand China a currency manipulator, retreating from core campaign promise, though he argued that a strong dollar is hampering the ability of American firms to compete. Trump, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, appeared to acknowledge that China hasn’t been intervening to weaken its currency recently. “They’re not currency manipulators," he said. It’s a shift of opinion after Trump accused China during last year’s election campaign of manipulating its currency to gain the upper hand in trade and vowed to label the country a manipulator on his first day. U.S. 10-year bond yields slumped and the dollar fell after Trump indicated in the interview that the U.S. currency is getting so strong that it’s harmful to the economy, while other nations “are devaluing” their currencies. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: China got a free pass from Trump.

Education Department Withdraws Student Loan Protections
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has rolled back protections for student loan borrowers that were enacted by the Obama administration. She formally withdrew policies outlined in memos issued by former President Barack Obama at the end of his term in office that called for the Federal Student Aid office to strengthen protections for borrowers. The retraction of the policies came in a letter on Tuesday to James W. Runcie, the Education Department's FSA chief. "This process [following the Obama memos] has been subjected to a myriad of moving deadlines, changing requirements and a lack of consistent objectives. We must promptly address not only these shortcomings but also any other issues that may impede our ability to ensure borrowers do not experience deficiencies in service. UPI

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Bannon In Peril? Trump’s Criticism Worries His Populist Base
President Donald Trump has declared: "I am my own strategist." That would seem to bode poorly for his actual strategist, Steve Bannon. And Trump now appears to have begun publicly distancing himself from Bannon. But shedding Bannon would be no simple staff shake-up. The former media executive and radio host has a following all his own. He is viewed by many in the conservative core as the ideological backbone in the White House. Bannon has feuded with Trump's son-in-law-turned-senior-adviser, Jared Kushner, and the president has ordered them to work it out. Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: Blood is thicker than water - blood could also be too much and may require an adjustment
Who’s Who: Trump Aides, Associates Drawing Attention
Trump's chief strategist and senior counselor has been the target of the left since he formally joined Trump's campaign, thanks to the far-right views of the website he used to run, Breitbart News. In an interview with the New York Post this week, Trump appeared to distance himself from Bannon, the chief architect of several major administration policies, including Trump's stalled travel bans. In the interview, Trump downplayed Bannon's role in his campaign, claiming that his chief strategist was not involved "until very late." That's despite the fact that Bannon took over as the campaign's CEO in August of last year. Las Vegas Sun

Apple Has A Secret Team Developing Diabetes Treatments
Apple Inc has hired a team of biomedical engineers as part of a secret initiative, initially envisioned by late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, to develop sensors to treat diabetes, CNBC reported citing three people familiar with the matter. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment. The engineers are expected to work at a nondescript office in Palo Alto, California, close to the corporate headquarters, CNBC said. The news comes at the time when the line between pharmaceuticals and technology is blurring as companies are joining forces to tackle chronic diseases using high-tech devices that combine biology, software and hardware, thereby jump-starting a novel field of medicine called bioelectronics. Last year, GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Google parent Alphabet Inc unveiled a joint company aimed at marketing bioelectronic devices to fight illness by attaching to individual nerves. NY Post

Germany Favors Ban On Boat Exports To Libya So Stop Migrants
The German government says it would support a ban on the export of boats from the European Union to Libya as part of measures to stem the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean. Smugglers use often rickety vessels to ferry thousands of migrants from the north African country to Europe each month. Mass drownings are common when the overloaded boats capsize or sink. In a response to questions from Left Party lawmakers, the German government says it considers "imposing restrictive measures" on EU exports of boats, engines and vehicles to Libya to be an appropriate measure to crack down on people smuggling. Tampa Tribune
VOA VIEW: Germany is feeling the expense and danger of illegal immigration.

Malala Becomes Honorary Canadian,Notes Trudeau's Tattoos
Malala Yousafzai (mah-LAH'-lah YOO'-suhf-zeye) is using her honorary Canadian citizenship to call on the country's leaders to take real action to improve educational opportunities for girls. The teenage Nobel prize winner spoke to the Canadian Parliament after becoming an honorary citizen Wednesday. She asked lawmakers to make education for girls a top priority when it hosts the G7 summit next year. Yousafzai was 15 when she shot in the head by Taliban militants in Pakistan in 2012. She was targeted due to her advocacy for women's education. Tampa Tribune

China Tells Military To Be Ready To 'Nove' To North Korea Border
China has ordered its military to be on nationwide alert, in addition to areas near the North Korea border, as tensions escalate on the peninsula. The Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, a nongovernmental organization in Hong Kong, said Beijing has ordered troops at all five military "regions" to maintain preparedness because of the situation in North Korea, according to Oriental Daily News in Hong Kong. According to the NGO, China's armored and mechanized infantry brigades in the provinces of Shandong, Zhejiang and Yunnan received the state mandate. UPI

Abbas Seks 'Unprecedented' Steps To End Palestinian Split
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned that he will take "unprecedented steps" to end the political division between his West Bank-based autonomy government and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. Abbas did not explain, but could try to use financial pressure to extract concessions from the Islamic militant Hamas which seized Gaza from him in 2007. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Thursday that "the language of threats and dictating orders" would not be accepted. Philadelphia Inquirer
VOA VIEW: Taking for Israel will gain nothing.

Prince Of Transylvania? Prince Charles Offered New Title
Britain's Prince Charles has boasted he shares a bloodline with legendary 15th-century prince Vlad the Impaler. Now a mayor is offering to make him Prince of Transylvania. A spokesman for the mayor of the Transylvanian city of Alba Iulia said Charles had been offered the honorific title because of his promotion of Transylvania. Mihai Coser told The Associated Press Thursday that Charles is "more Romanian than many Romanians." So far, he says there has been no response to the offer. Philadelphia Inquirer

Teen Denied Life-Saving Transplant For Smoking Pot
The family of a Utah teen whose lungs collapsed claims that a hospital denied him a life-saving transplant because weed was found in his system. Riley Hancey, 19, was hospitalized in late November with a severe bout of pneumonia which caused both of his lungs to collapse. University of Utah Hospital physicians told Hancey that he would need to undergo a double-lung transplant to survive, news station KSL-TV reported. But Hancey was rejected from the hospital’s transplant list when his drug test came back positive for pot intoxicant THC, according to his family. “[The doctor] was willing to let him die over testing positive for marijuana. This is what shocked me,” his father Mark Hancey told Buzzfeed News. NY Post

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Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman slammed the United Nations on Wednesday for ignoring the Palestinian- on-Palestinian killings in Gaza and Lebanon, while regularly condemning “justified Israeli actions against terrorism.” Liberman’s comments, according to his spokesman, came during a telephone conversation on Wednesday with the UN’s Mideast envoy Nikolay Mladenov. According to the statement, Liberman protested that the UN is ignoring a number of killings and executions that have happened in recent days among the Palestinians in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon, as well as in Gaza. Jerusalem Post
VOA VIEW: The UN is pro Arab - anti US.

French independent presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday that recognizing a Palestinian state at this stage would serve nothing. The important task now is to create an atmosphere that will enable a peace process to be launched, the 39-year-old said in an interview on the Jewish community Radio J station in Paris.
Less than two weeks before the first round of elections, French voters seem increasingly indecisive about which candidate to choose. Macron was not considered early in the campaign, but has recently polled as the front-runner. His interview was an eye-opener – as far as his approach on Middle East issues in general – and on the Syrian War, Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular. Jerusalem Post
VOA VIEW: It is sad to think that there isn't a liberal bias against Israel.

Syria War: Anger After Russia Vetoes Resolution At UN
Russia has vetoed a draft resolution at the UN Security Council that would have condemned last week's alleged chemical attack in Syria and demanded that Damascus cooperate with investigators. The resolution was presented by the US, UK and France, who reacted angrily to Russia's decision. It was the eighth time Russia has protected its ally at the council. The suspected chemical attack on rebel-held Khan Sheikhun on 4 April killed more than 80 people. Western allies blamed the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad and US President Donald Trump ordered missile strikes against a Syrian air force base in response. BBC

Dairy-Free Diets Warning Over Risk To Bone Health
Diets which cut out dairy food could be a "ticking time bomb" for young people's bone health, a charity is warning. A National Osteoporosis Society survey found a fifth of under-25s are cutting out or reducing dairy in their diet. It said it was concerned many young adults were putting their health at risk by following eating fads. Cutting out dairy can be healthy if enough calcium is consumed from other sources, such as nuts, seeds and fish. The charity surveyed 2,000 adults, including 239 under the age of 25 and 339 aged 25-35. BBC

Trump's Border Wall Plan Hits Snag As Congressman Backs Environmental Suit
A US congressman and environmental group have filed the first lawsuit targeting Donald Trump’s plan to build a 30ft wall on the US-Mexico border. The suit, brought by Congressman Raúl M Grijalva of Arizona and the Center for Biological Diversity in the US district court for Arizona, seeks to require the government to undertake a comprehensive environmental impact analysis before beginning construction. Such a review would probably take several years to complete, delaying indefinitely the fulfillment of one of Trump’s signature campaign promises. Guardian
VOA VIEW: A waste of time.

A Trillion Is Not Enough: Trump's Infrastructure Ambitions Grow
Donald Trump is considering privatising America’s airports and dams as part of an infrastructure building programme that could exceed past estimates of a trillion dollars. But the US president, bruised by the failure of his healthcare bill, could again face a combination of doubtful Democrats and sceptical conservatives threatening to scuttle the flagship project. On Tuesday, Trump hosted 16 business leaders, including the chief executives of General Electric, IBM, PepsiCo and Walmart, to discuss subjects including infrastructure, regulations and fixing the Veterans Administration. Guardian

Former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort Will Register As Foreign Agent
Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort will register with the justice department as a foreign agent for lobbying work he did on behalf of political interests in Ukraine, led at the time by a pro-Russian political party, his spokesman said on Wednesday. Mr Manafort is the second Trump campaign adviser to have to register as a foreign agent since the election. The confirmation that he intends to register comes as the Trump administration has been facing heavy scrutiny over the foreign ties of former campaign advisers and other Trump associates. Telegraph

Donald Trump Offers China Favourable Trade Deal In Exchange For Support Over North Korea Nuclear Threat
Donald Trump has declared he will offer China a more favourable trade deal in exchange for Beijing's help in dealing with the nuclear threat from North Korea. The US president said on Wednesday night he was confident Xi Jinping, the Chinese president would support America over Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions, but repeated that he was prepared to tackle the crisis alone if needed. Tensions are escalating sharply over fears that North Korea may carry out another nuclear test on Saturday. Telegraph

Global Trade To Expand By 2.4 Per Cent In 2017 Amid ‘Deep’ Geopolitical, Economic Uncertainty – WTO
While forecasting that growth in the volume of global merchandise trade is expected to rebound this year from its weak performance in 2016, the World Trade Organization (WTO) today cautioned that “deep uncertainty” about near-term economic and policy developments in some countries raise the risk that trade activity could be stifled. The WTO, which often cooperates with the United Nations on trade matters, forecast that global trade will expand by 2.4 per cent in 2017, but only if the global economy recovers as expected and governments pursue the right policy mix. Owing to this uncertainty, this figure is placed within a range of 1.8 per cent to 3.6 per cent. In 2018, the WTO is forecasting trade growth between 2.1 per cent and four per cent. UN News

Illegal Armed Groups Pose 'Persistent Threat' To Africa's Great Lakes Region
The United Nations envoy for Africa's Great Lakes region encouraged today the countries of the region, and the UN Security Council, to help strengthen the fight against illegal armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and its neighbours, particularly as elements of the former M23 rebel group have resurfaced. “The persistent activities of illegal armed groups remain one of the main threats to the security of the population and the stability of the DRC and the region,” said Said Djinnit, the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region told the Security Council this afternoon. UN News

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