NEWS   FRIDAY, APRIL  14, 2017   NEWS

US Drops Largest Non-Nuclear Bomb In Afghanistan After Green Beret Killed
The U.S. military dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb on an ISIS tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, a U.S. defense official confirmed to Fox News. The GBU-43B, a 21,000-pound conventional bomb, was deployed in Nangarhar Province close to the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. By comparison, each Tomahawk cruise missile launched at a Syrian military air base last week weighed 1,000 pounds each. The MOAB -- Massive Ordnance Air Blast -- is also known as the “Mother Of All Bombs.” It was first tested in 2003, but hadn't been used in combat before Thursday. Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said the bomb had been brought to Afghanistan "some time ago" for potential use. The bomb explodes in the air, creating air pressure that can make tunnels and other structures collapse. It can be used at the start of an offensive to soften up the enemy, weakening both its infrastructure and morale. Fox News
VOA VIEW: All should take notice.

Secret Service Fires Two Officers Over March Fence-Jumping Incident
Two Secret Service officers have been fired over their handling of a March 10 incident in which a White House fence jumper made it just steps from a main door to the executive mansion, two law enforcement officials told CNN on Thursday. The Uniformed Division officers, both with less than a year on the job, were assigned to guard posts located at the Treasury Building and at an entrance to East Executive Avenue, the source said. Video surveillance shows the alleged intruder, 26-year-old Jonathan Tran of California, first jumping a fence in the Northwest corner of the Treasury Building. He then climbed a five-foot fence, an eight-foot gate and hopped and three-and-a-half-foot fence while Secret Service members struggled to locate him. CNN
VOA VIEW: The officers where young and learned a big lesson.

Here's How HR Is Supposed To Handle Sexual Harassment
With allegations of sexual harassment at Fox News in the headlines, human resources is getting a lot of flak. "HR is not your friend. HR will not help you." That was Nancy Erika Smith speaking last week at the Women in the World conference. She's a lawyer who represented former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson in her harassment suit against network founder Roger Ailes. "The first call you make is to an attorney. ... You need to find out what the laws are," she said. Anita Hill added this in a Washington Post op-ed: "There are still companies that pay lip service to human-resources departments, while quietly allowing women to be vilified when they come forward." CNN

Federal Judge Ordered To Rehab For Alcoholism, Record
A federal judge whose unusual behavior on the bench preceded her mysterious removal from a string of cases was ordered to get treatment for alcoholism so severe a colleague believes she cannot take care of herself, according to court records released Thursday. The records revealing U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi's alcoholism don't answer whether it was a factor in the secretive interruptions in her Louisiana courtroom. But the documents show she moved into an assisted living facility specializing in "memory care" within three months of presiding over a criminal trial that was cut short without explanation. The mandate for Minaldi to complete at least 90 days of substance abuse treatment came from a higher court official - the chief judge of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Philadelphia Inquirer
VOA VIEW: There are many more judges that should be removed from the bench.

FBI Director: Public Should Be Aware Agenda-Driven Fake News
FBI Director James Comey said Americans should be aware of foreign efforts to undermine confidence in U.S. elections and mindful of the possibility that what they're reading might be part of an organized disinformation campaign. U.S. adversaries, including Russia last year, have "used all kinds of vectors to try and influence and undermine our own faith in our democratic processes" and have relied on increasingly sophisticated tactics, the FBI director warned. Speaking at a Newseum event Wednesday night, he said the FBI would be transparent in publicly calling out efforts to meddle in American politics and that the public also should take steps to guard against foreign influence. "The most important thing to be done is people need to be aware of the possibility that what they're reading has been shaped by troll farms looking to push a message on Twitter to undermine our confidence" about the electoral process, Comey said. Philadelphia Inquirer
VOA VIEW: CNN, MSNBC and NBC among other media have their own liberal agenda.

How Elizabeth Warren’s Husband Talked Her Out Of Running For President
Elizabeth Warren had considered entering the 2016 presidential race back in early 2015 but demurred when her husband told her it might be too difficult. “A race like this one looks pretty terrible,” her husband, Bruce Mann, told her about the presidential contest, as revealed in her new book, “This Fight is our Fight.” “The Senate thing was bad enough,” she wrote, “ and running for president would be worse — a lot worse.’” Warren is releasing the book amid speculation that she could enter the Democratic primaries to take on President Trump in the 2020 election. NY Post

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CIA's Pompeo Rips WikiLeaks As 'Hostile Intelligence Service' Abetted By Russia
CIA Director Mike Pompeo, in his first speech since taking over the agency, lambasted WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange -- calling the group a "non-state hostile intelligence service" that is often abetted by "state actors like Russia." Speaking Thursday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Pompeo called Assange a "fraud," someone with no “moral compass” and a “narcissist who has created nothing of value.” He asserted that Assange and former National Security Agency staffer and famed leaker Edward Snowden “seek to use that information to make a name for themselves” and they “care nothing about the lives they put at risk or the damage they cause to national security.” Fox News

Trump Signs Resolution Overturning Obama Regulation That Forces States To Fund Planned Parenthood Under Title X
President Donald Trump on Thursday signed H.J. Res. 43, a resolution that overturns President Barack Obama’s regulation forcing states to fund Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, under Title X. “This resolution that he signed today overturns a regulation that was put in place by the previous administration on their way out the door that would have taken away the right of states to set their own policies and priorities for Title 10 family-planning programs,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced Thursday. CNS News
VOA VIEW: A good decision - bad for Planned Parenthood.

At Home, Rebel Republican Lawmakers Pay No Price For Defying Trump
At a town hall in his conservative Florida district this week, U.S. Representative Ted Yoho drew applause for defying his own Republican Party leaders to help derail a healthcare plan that was President Donald Trump's first major legislative initiative. Far from paying a price back home, as Trump has threatened they would, Yoho and some of the other far-right members of the House Freedom Caucus appear to have support for standing their ground, based on their reception at several town halls during a two-week congressional recess. A handful of House Freedom Caucus lawmakers were facing constituents for the first time since last month's defeat of Trump's effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, which was also rejected by some Republican moderates. Reuters

Facebook Targets 30,000 Fake France Accounts Before Election
Facebook says it has targeted 30,000 fake accounts linked to France ahead of the country’s presidential election, as part of a worldwide effort against misinformation.
The company said Thursday it’s trying to “reduce the spread of material generated through inauthentic activity, including spam, misinformation, or other deceptive content that is often shared by creators of fake accounts.” It said its efforts “enabled us to take action” against the French accounts and that it is removing sites with the highest traffic. Facebook and French media are also running fact-checking programs in France to combat misleading information, especially around the campaign for the two-round April 23-May 7 presidential election. European authorities have also pressured Facebook and Twitter to remove extremist propaganda or other postings that violate European hate speech or other laws. Seattle Times
VOA VIEW: Censorship!

Police Take Hands-Off Approach For Overbooked Flights
Police at airports in the New York City metropolitan area are taking a hands-off approach when it comes to removing passengers from overbooked flights. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Superintendent Michael Fedorko on Thursday issued a new policy after a passenger was dragged from an oversold United Airlines flight Sunday evening at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. The policy says officers will not assist in the physical removal of passengers to accommodate the airline's request. Officers are to examine each instance on a case-by-case basis. The police department oversees Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports. Tampa Tribune

Auschwitz Survivor Warns Congress To 'Straighten Out' Mess
At age 83, Auschwitz survivor Eva Mozes Kor — who received Indiana’s highest award Thursday —  is the subject of two new documentary films. She is an in-demand public speaker, just returning from an engagement in Miami where she was the guest of a Cuban-American billionaire who heard about her from Shimon Peres, the former prime minister of Israel. She’s leading two tours this summer of Auschwitz. And she undoubtedly will document it for the 13,000 followers of the Twitter account she operates herself. She’s even become a talking, question-answering hologram at a Holocaust archive founded by Steven Spielberg. But the grandest ambition of this woman from Terre Haute, Ind., is to storm the halls of Congress, rhetorically grab the bickering partisans by their red and blue neckties and smack them around a bit. USA Today

Trump And Yellen May Not Be An Odd Couple After All
At first glance, U.S. President Donald Trump and Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen may have little in common. Yellen is an academic economist and veteran of Democratic administrations who is committed to an open global economy, while Trump is a real estate mogul with an electoral base suspicious of the economic order Yellen helped to create. Yet the two may have interests in common now that Trump is president and both want to get as many Americans working as possible. Since her appointment as Fed chair in February 2014, Yellen has kept interest rates low and she currently pledges to raise them only slowly even though unemployment, at 4.5 percent, is at its lowest in nearly ten years. Reuters

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J.C. Penney Delays Store Closures, Liquidation Sales
J.C. Penney said Thursday it is delaying plans to shutter 138 stores amid a surge in shoppers making final visits. "Since announcing store closures, affected locations have seen better than expected sales and traffic," J.C. Penney spokesman Joey Thomas told USA TODAY in an email statement. As a result, it's "advantageous for the company to continue selling through spring and summer merchandise at current promotional levels by pushing liquidation back another month," Thomas said. The influx of last-minute shoppers prompted the chain to postpone liquidation sales until May 22, instead of April 17, as originally planned. Store closures have been pushed back six weeks, to July 31, Thomas said. USA Today

Roger Stone: Steve Bannon Alone In West Wing
Longtime Donald Trump ally Roger Stone said Thursday that embattled White House aide Steve Bannon is alone and surrounded in the West Wing and that no one in the administration should feel like they have long-term job security. "He makes his own decisions. He also will make wholesale changes if he thinks things aren't going well," Stone said of President Donald Trump in an interview with NBC News' Chuck Todd for "MTP Daily." Stone would know. He left his role as an adviser to Trump's campaign just two month after the real-estate mogul announced his run. Trump initially said Stone was fired, though the longtime GOP political operative said he quit the campaign to be an outside surrogate. MSNBC
VOA VIEW: The truth is ...

Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Hit With 13 Health Violations In January
President Donald Trump may want to consider swinging by the kitchen when he visits his plush Mar-a-Lago resort this weekend. Florida health inspectors found more than a dozen violations during a Jan. 26 check of the Palm Beach, Florida estate, according to recently published reports from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations. Three of those violations were labeled high priority, meaning they could contribute to foodborne illness. The club did, however, meet the minimum standards to remain in operation. MSNBC
VOA VIEW: Mar-A-Lago needs to get its act together.

Critics Worry 'Junk Science' To Reign As Forensic Panel Ends
Defense attorneys say they will step up their challenges to certain forensic practices now that the Justice Department has disbanded an independent commission that was studying how to improve their reliability. But the absence of research or guidance from the National Commission on Forensic Science could make the task of challenging questionable scientific evidence in court even harder, according to experts who worry that "garbage science" will continue to cloud court cases across the U.S. "Even if defense attorneys jump up and down and complain about it, they won't have the power of a national commission to back them up," said Erin Murphy, a professor at New York University School of Law. "The status quo right now is to admit it all. The status quo is where things are likely to stay." Houston Chronicle

An Elite Private Boarding School Has Admitted To Decades Of Sexual Abuse By Faculty Members
Choate Rosemary Hall, an elite boarding school in Wallingford, Connecticut, acknowledged decades of sexual abuse by former teachers against the students entrusted to their care in a report on Thursday. The report, written for the board of trustees by an investigator at the law firm Covington & Burling LLP, documented the actions of at least 12 former faculty members, beginning in the 1960s and into the 2010s. The claims of abuse include instances of “intimate kissing,” “sexual intercourse” and “forced or coerced intercourse.” The report said that no current faculty members were implicated in abuse and that there were no reports relating to current students. In some cases, administrators had written letters of recommendation for teachers who resigned after being confronted with evidence of misconduct. Charotte Observer

Lois Lerner Demands Secrecy, Blames Death Threats Over IRS Tea Party Targeting
Former IRS senior executive Lois G. Lerner told a federal court this week that she faces the possibility of death threats if her role in the tax agency’s tea party targeting becomes public, and asked a judge to forever seal her upcoming deposition in a class action lawsuit brought by hundreds of groups that were targeted. Mr. Lerner and Holly Paz, another figure from the IRS’s tea party targeting, told the judge they’ve already faced “harassment and death threats” before, when the press was intently covering the tea party scandal. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Lerner made himself a victim.

Russia, Iran Warn US Against New Syria Attacks
A senior Russian diplomat says the United States and Russia are again exchanging information on a hotline designed to prevent midair incidents over Syria, but that the formal agreement on such exchanges has not been renewed. After the U.S. launched a Tomahawk missile barrage on a Syrian air base last week, Russia announced that it was suspending observance of the memorandum that established the hotline. President Vladimir Putin said after this week's meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that Russia was ready to return to the arrangement. Houston Chronicle

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Uber Accused Of Using A Secret Program Called Hell To Track Lyft Drivers
A new report says Uber used a secret software program dubbed Hell to track Lyft drivers to see if they were driving for both ride-hailing services — information that could be used to stifle competition. The tool allowed Uber to monitor its competitor’s rates and steer additional fares toward drivers who were using both platforms, which could have influenced drivers to commit to Uber alone, according to a story in the technology trade publication the Information. Kansas City Star

Pence To Open Asian Trip Amid Tensions With North Korea
Vice President Mike Pence is opening his trip to the Asia-Pacific region amid increasing tensions in North Korea over the regime's nuclear and missile programs. Pence is set to arrive Sunday in South Korea as President Donald Trump vows that Kim Jong Un's government is a "problem" that will be "taken care of." The vice president's 10-day trip comes as North Korea celebrates the 105th anniversary of the birth of national founder Kim Il Sung, which falls on Saturday. It's North Korea's most important holiday and a large-scale military parade is expected. Tensions have been on the rise along the Korean Peninsula in recent weeks over concerns about North Korean aggression. Kansas City Star

White House Says Trump’s ‘Tough Talk’ On China Was A Tactic
The White House said Thursday that President Trump’s reversal on China’s status as a currency manipulator should be viewed as an effort to fight for Americans. “The president’s tough talk on a variety of subjects was to get results for the American people,” said White House press secretary Sean Spicer. “This is always about developing a better situation for the American people, and I think he’s done that.” During the campaign and even as recently as two weeks ago, Mr. Trump had blasted China for manipulating its currency to gain an edge on trade with the U.S. He promised as a candidate that he would label China as a currency manipulator, opening it up to possible punitive actions on trade. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Spicer BS.

Behind The Fight To Remove Confederate Statues In The South
More than 150 years after the Civil War, there is a new push across the South to take down Confederate monuments. Officials in Austin, Texas, and Louisville, Kentucky, have already voted to remove statues, and New Orleans is about to do the same. In Charlottesville, Virginia, a statue of Robert E. Lee was erected nearly 100 years ago, but there, as in other cities, the Confederate symbol is now at the center of a bitter debate: How should we define our past as the nation moves forward? It’s all part of a public debate over whether these statues memorialize racism, reports CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford. CBS
VOA VIEW: The Confederacy was not a evil empire - the truth hurts.

How Title X Change Could Affect Family Planning In US
President Donald Trump signed a bill into law today that could have far reaching effects on family planning services for many people in the U.S. The rollback of the rule impacts how states dole out Title X funds, which provide low-income people and others access to family planning and related preventive health services. States are supposed to award funding to providers based on their ability to provide services. However, some had changed the way Title X funds were given out and reduced the amount of funds available for centers that provided abortions. CBS

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Georgia Police Investigating 'Disturbing' Video Allegedly Showing Officer Kicking Handcuffed Man In Head
A Georgia police department has launched a criminal investigation in response to a “disturbing” video that allegedly shows the officer kicking a handcuffed man in the head as he lays in the middle of a major roadway during a traffic stop. The Gwinnett County Police Department in Lawrenceville has fired the officer in question, identified as Robert McDonald, who was hired in August 2013. "This officer and his actions do not represent the men and women of this police department who put their lives on the line," Gwinnett County Police Chief Butch Ayers said in a press conference Thursday afternoon, a few hours after McDonald was fired. ABC

President Trump Changes Stance On 4 Campaign Positions In Just 1 Day
Over the course of just one day, President Trump declared different positions than he took during the campaign on four issues. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal and at a press conference on Wednesday, President Trump declared that China is not a currency manipulator, entertained the possibility of re-appointing Janet Yellen as chair of the Federal Reserve, asserted that NATO is a relevant alliance and expressed a favorable view of the Export-Import Bank. ABC
VOA VIEW: Sounds like a lot of double-talk.

AT&T May Face Bidding Rival In $1.6 Billion Straight Path Deal
Straight Path and its adviser, Evercore, got a letter from another party that’s evaluating whether to top AT&T’s bid, according to a filing Thursday. The third party had been competing with AT&T for the acquisition before the deal was announced this week, Straight Path said. Verizon Communications Inc. is considering making an offer for Straight Path, Reuters reported Thursday, citing unidentified sources. The overture may lead to an open bidding war over Straight Path, one of the largest holders of 28 gigahertz and 39 gigahertz millimeter-wave spectrum -- frequencies the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has already approved to power the fifth-generation of wireless services, or 5G. AT&T and Verizon have been amassing such spectrum to offer faster internet speeds for video and other services. Bloomberg

Ben Carson Tours Miami Housing Complex Built With Grant Trump Wants Eliminated
Housing Secretary Ben Carson toured a Miami apartment complex Thursday that one of his hosts said wouldn’t exist without the federal program that the White House wants eliminated. “This building wouldn’t have come to fruition without the HOME fund,” Stephanie Berman, president of Carrfour Supportive Housing, said a few steps from Carson during his tour of one of the charity’s Miami properties, the Villa Aurora apartments. The $950 million HOME program would end under President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget for Housing and Urban Development, part of a 13 percent cut for the department that Carson heads. Miami Herald

NASA Has Found Evidence That An Ice-Covered Moon Of Saturn Could Sustain Alien Life
If alien life exists, it will likely be found in a place with three key ingredients: water, warmth, and food. Scientists have long thought such conditions may exist under the icy shell of Enceladus, a moon of Saturn that's about 272 miles (505 kilometers) wide. Those suspicions grew after NASA's Cassini spacecraft found plumes of water shooting out fissures in the ice. The probe repeatedly flew through the plumes, leading to the discovery of the moon's global subsurface ocean. But Cassini also "sniffed" and "tasted" the water of Enceladus, and on April 13, scientists revealed they'd found traces of hydrogen — a gas that deep-sea microbes on Earth can eat for energy. SF Gate

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Democrats Want Guarantee For Health Subsidies After Trump Threat
Congressional Democrats are warning they will fight to prevent President Donald Trump from withholding payments used to subsidize insurance costs for poor Americans under Obamacare, signalling the issue could become part of the debate to avoid a government shutdown at the end of April. Top House and Senate Democratic leaders are pushing to guarantee the so-called Cost Sharing Reduction subsidies as part of a spending bill that must be approved by April 28, the last day of government funding under current law, according to three Democratic aides. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: No one should pay what they don't have to.

US Imposes Sanctions On Brother Of Iranian General
The Trump administration has imposed sanctions on the brother of a well-known Iranian general. A Treasury Department statement says sanctions were imposed on the Tehran Prisons Organization and Sohrab Soleimani in connection with serious human rights abuses in Iran. Soleimani is a senior official in the organization. The statement says the action reflects deep concern regarding human rights in Iran. Soleimani is the younger brother of Qassem Soleimani, the former commander of Iran's elite Quds force who also advised Iraq's Shiite militias in their fight against the Islamic State group. Las Vegas Sun

Trudeau's Government Moves To Legalize Marijuana In Canada
Canada's Liberal government took the first step toward filling a 2015 campaign promise to legalize the recreational use of marijuana on Thursday, paving the way for legal pot smoking by next year. Under the plan, Canada's federal government would repeal legislation criminalizing marijuana possession for an individual carrying up to 1 ounce (30 grams) of cannabis and would authorize government-registered dealers to sell it to anyone age 18 or older. Individual provinces would be permitted to set an older age, such as 19, which is the legal drinking age in three provinces, including the nation's largest, Ontario. UPI

Russia Watching Korea Tension With Great Concern
President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday that Russia is calling on all parties to show restraint and refrain from any provocative action. He emphasized that the crisis could only be settled by political and diplomatic means. Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned the U.S. that attempts to rely on force to pressure North Korea will not help. Tensions in the region have risen with the dispatch of a U.S. aircraft carrier to the area and the deployment of thousands of U.S. and South Korean troops, tanks and other weaponry for their biggest joint military exercises. Pyongyang has warned of war if it sees any signs of aggression from south of the Demilitarized Zone. Atlanta Journal
VOA VIEW: North Korea should be the one warned and advised not to push the US.

Kids Can Pick Up Nicotine Without Being Exposed To Secondhand Smoke
Everyone's heard about the dangers of secondhand smoke. Now, researchers say children can pick up nicotine on their hands "thirdhand." Kids can get high levels of nicotine on their hands just by touching items or surfaces contaminated with tobacco smoke residue, a small U.S. study found. The findings "show that children's hands hold high levels of nicotine even when parents are not smoking around them," said study co-author Dr. Melinda Mahabee-Gittens. She's with Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center's division of emergency medicine. UPI

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SYRIA'S ASSAD SAYS IDLIB CHEMICAL ATTACK A 'FABRICATION'
Syrian President Bashar Assad said an alleged poison gas attack blamed on his government last week in Idlib province was "100 percent fabrication," news agency AFP reported on Thursday. Assad also said Syria's military had given up all chemical weapons, AFP said on its Twitter account, quoting remarks in an interview with the Syrian president. Syrian President Bashar Assad said an alleged poison gas attack blamed on his government last week in Idlib province was "100 percent fabrication," news agency AFP reported on Thursday. Assad also said Syria's military had given up all chemical weapons, AFP said on its Twitter account, quoting remarks in an interview with the Syrian president. Jerusalem Post

REPORT: HEZBOLLAH EVACUATING POSITIONS NEAR ISRAEL'S GOLAN HEIGHTS
Hezbollah forces have begun to evacuate territory near Syria's Golan region, not far from the Israeli border, after the US State Department demanded that the Lebanese terror organization immediately leave the area, Syrian news agency Al-Ittihad reported Thursday. The report added that Hezbollah fighters began clearing their stronghold in the Qalamun Mountains nearly a week before the US military conducted airstrikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad's air force on April 6. Jerusalem Post

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

'Touchscreen-Toddlers' Sleep Less, Researchers Say
Toddlers who spend time playing on smartphones and tablets seem to get slightly less sleep than those who do not, say researchers. The study in Scientific Reports suggests every hour spent using a touchscreen each day was linked to 15 minutes less sleep. However, those playing with touchscreens do develop their fine motor skills more quickly. Experts said the study was "timely" but parents should not lose sleep over it. BBC

British Spies Were First To Spot Trump Team's Links With Russia
Britain’s spy agencies played a crucial role in alerting their counterparts in Washington to contacts between members of Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives, the Guardian has been told. GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents, a source close to UK intelligence said. This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information, they added. Over the next six months, until summer 2016, a number of western agencies shared further information on contacts between Trump’s inner circle and Russians, sources said. Guardian

Drugmakers Don't Want Their Medicines Used In Spate Of Arkansas Executions
Two drugmakers have asked a judge to stop the use of their medicines for executions in Arkansas, which plans to kill seven men over 11 days before the state’s supply of a lethal injection drug expires. Fresenius Kabi USA and West-Ward Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturers of two drug compounds often used for executions in the US, filed amicus briefs in district court in Arkansas on Thursday. “When the medicines could be used to protect life, they are instead being used to end it,” attorneys for the companies wrote in court documents. Guardian

Theresa May Salutes First Female British Army Officer Bound For Frontline Combat Job
The Prime Minister has spoken of her pride at witnessing the Sandhurst graduation of the first female officer commissioned into a British Army ground close combat regiment. The unnamed female soldier will join the Royal Tank Regiment after the Army last year scrapped its ban on women in frontline ground fighting jobs. Theresa May confirmed the milestone at the academy’s Sovereign’s Parade where she saw 190 cadets graduate after completing their 44 weeks of training. Telegraph

'Radical' Investments Needed To Meet Global Water And Sanitation Targets
Against the backdrop of almost two billion people around the world relying on sources of drinking-water contaminated with faeces, the United Nations has called on countries to “radically” increase investments in water and sanitation infrastructure not only to protect their populations from deadly diseases but also to ensure that they are able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “Contaminated drinking-water is estimated to cause more than 500,000 diarrhoeal deaths each year and is a major factor in several neglected tropical diseases, including intestinal worms, schistosomiasis, and trachoma,” said Maria Neira, the Director of Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health at the UN World Health Organization (WHO) in a news release today. UN News

Iraq: UN Assessment Reveals Extensive Destruction In Western Mosul
Using satellite imagery and local researches, the most recent evaluation confirms that western Mosul has undergone extensive destruction, “far greater than in the east,” according to a senior United Nations aid official in the country. “The level of damage in western Mosul is already far greater than in the east, even before the battle to retake the Old City begins,” said Lise Grande, Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, in a news release issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). With more than 1,140 housing sites having been destroyed across the city, the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) confirms that damage to houses in western Mosul is two and a half times greater than in the eastern districts with one-third of the residential devastation reported to have occurred in the Al Jadeda neighbourhood. UN News

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