NEWS   SUNDAY, APRIL  16, 2017   NEWS

Tax March Turns Into Demand For Trump's IRS Filings
Thousands of protesters turned out Saturday in events across the country to demand President Trump release his full IRS returns, mostly large-but-peaceful events with several arrests reported in California. That the events were held on the deadline for hundreds of millions of Americans to file their federal returns was largely coincidental. Their intent was to pressure Trump to release his tax documents and to help Trump opponents stake out their position ahead of the president’s pending tax reform plan. “Today, across American we are taking the gloves off to say it’s time to knock off the tax rip-off,” Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden told a crowd of several hundred people gathered at the base of Capitol Hill. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Democrats has the guts to keep the liberal flames hot.

Trump Team Remains Low-key About Failed North Korean Missile Launch
The Trump administration took a low-key approach to this weekend's failed missile test in North Korea, and continued to express the hope that China would rein in its nuclear-armed neighbor. The test "fits into a pattern of provocative and destabilizing and threatening behavior on the part of the North Korean regime," said Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, Trump's national security adviser, on ABC's This Week .  "There’s an international consensus now, including — including the Chinese and the Chinese leadership — that this is a situation that just can’t continue." "North Korea is a liability to everybody," said deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland on Fox News Sunday, and also "a threat to China." "Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem?" Trump tweeted. "We will see what happens!" USA Today

First Lady Melania Trump, Son Moving To Washington This Summer, WH Confirms
President Trump’s wife and their young son will officially be moving into the White House this summer, following the end of the school year, a senior White House official tells Fox News. The move is in line with what senior Trump transitions officials told Fox News in December about first lady Melania Trump and son Barron Trump’s timeline for moving from Trump Tower in Manhattan to Washington. Since his January 20 inauguration, President Trump has lived at the White House while his wife and their 11-year-old son have stayed in New York City. Fox News
VOA VIEW: As Trump said.

United Airlines Issues A New Policy Requiring Crews To Be Booked Sooner
The company said late Friday that it will now require commuting staff and crew members to check into flights 60 minutes prior to departure. The policy change comes in the wake of a highly publicized incident on April 9 in which a paying customer who had already boarded was violently dragged off the aircraft by law enforcement officers. United later said a seat was needed for a commuting crew member, and no one had volunteered to leave the plane. CNN

As Millions Watch Via Webcam, Giraffe Gives Birth In New York zoo
After weeks of suspense, April the giraffe finally gave birth on Saturday to a baby boy, delighting of hundreds of thousands of people who have been monitoring a live cam feed from a New York zoo in anticipation of the long-overdue event. April, who had been due to give birth in January or February at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, in western New York, was pregnant for at least 16 months, compared with the typical gestation period of 15 months, according to zoo officials. April's celebrity and the public fascination with her unborn calf blossomed when the zoo began providing a live YouTube stream in February. Reuters

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U.S. Judge Puts Hold On Arkansas Plan For Successive Executions
A U.S. federal judge on Saturday temporarily blocked plans by Arkansas to carry out a rapid series of executions this month, after the inmates argued the state's rush to the death chamber was unconstitutional and reckless. Arkansas, which has not carried out an execution in 12 years, planned to begin the lethal injections of at least six convicted murderers on Monday and complete the executions before the end of April. Since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, no state has ever put as many inmates to death in as short a period. Reuters

Senators Blame Washington For Restrictions On Food Aid For Famine Victims
As President Donald Trump seeks to cut foreign aid under the slogan of "America First," two U.S. senators are proposing making American food assistance more efficient after meeting with victims of South Sudan's famine and civil war. Following a visit to the world's largest refugee settlement in northern Uganda with the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware told The Associated Press on Saturday that the U.S. "can deliver more food aid at less cost" through foreign food aid reform. MSNBC

5 Things To Know About US Vice President Mike Pence
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is embarking on a 10-day, four-nation tour of the Asia-Pacific this weekend, arriving in South Korea after a failed missile launch by the North. His visit comes amid tensions over North Korea's aggressive flaunting of its nuclear and missile program. Pence will visit South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Australia during his trip, meeting with leaders in the region, military troops and business groups. It will be Pence's second foreign trip as vice president — he traveled to Germany and Belgium in February to meet with NATO and European Union officials. Pence is a former Indiana governor and congressman.  Elected Indiana's governor in 2012, Pence signed a controversial "religious freedom" bill in 2015 that critics said allowed businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians by allowing them to cite religious beliefs as a reason for denying services. After a backlash from corporations, Pence softened the law following criticism that it was discriminatory. Houston Chronicle
VOA VIEW: Pence is true to his president.

Zika Found in Common Backyard Asian Tiger Mosquito
A common backyard mosquito can be infected with the Zika virus and it may pass the virus along in its eggs, researchers reported Friday. The findings add to worries that the Asian tiger mosquito, scientifically known as Aedes albopictus, could help spread the virus as mosquito season hits temperate regions of the world. The study, published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, doesn't prove that tiger mosquitoes can spread Zika, which causes severe birth defects. But it adds to evidence that they might. MSNBC

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Fox Affiliate In Boston Announced Name Change To Separate Itself From Fox News Cable Network
A local Fox affiliate is dropping the F-word from the name of its regular newscast in a bid to distance itself from the conservative-learning Fox News Channel network within the liberal stronghold of Boston, Massachusetts. The newscast currently known as “Fox 25 News” will be rebranded as “Boston 25 News” beginning April 24, WFXT-TV said Thursday. The station will continue to broadcast Fox network programming and refer to itself as “Fox 25,” but won’t be using the word in connection with its independent, locally-produced newscast, WFXT general manager Tom Raponitold The Boston Globe. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: WFXT is showing weakness.

Donald Trump Can’t Be Sued Because He’s President, His Attorney Claims In Court
President Trump can’t be sued for allegedly provoking his supporters to assault protesters at a pre-election rally last March because his standing as president precludes him from civil litigation, one of his attorneys said Friday. “Mr. Trump is immune from suit because he is President of the United States,” R. Kent Westberry, an attorney for Mr. Trump, wrote in a filing entered Friday in in federal court in Kentucky. The president’s lawyer offered that defense in response to a lawsuit brought last month on behalf of three individuals who say they were assaulted at a March 2016 campaign rally in Louisville upon Mr. Trump’s instruction. Washingotn Times
VOA VIEW: Questionable!

Boston Somberly Marks 4Th Anniversary Of Marathon Bombing
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh laid wreaths on Boylston Street Saturday morning as the city paused to reflect on the four-year anniversary of the 2013 marathon bombing. In 2015, Walsh declared April 15 to be One Boston Day, with the goal of taking a negative event and turning it into a positive one, CBS Boston reports. He envisioned the day as an opportunity for Boston residents to spread goodwill and give back to the community. CBS

Navy SEAL Exposed As Porn Star Who Appeared In 29 Films
The Navy is investigating a decorated SEAL who moonlights as a porn actor. The Naval Special Warfare Command wants to know whether Chief Special Warfare Officer Joseph Schmidt III properly obtained permission from his commanders for outside work and whether they condoned his acting career, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. “There are very clear regulations which govern outside employment as well as prohibitions on behavior that is discrediting to the service,” said Capt. Jason Salata, a SEALs spokesman. Schmidt, 42, has spent 23 years in the military and holds numerous medals, including a citation of valor for combat overseas. CBS

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Microsoft Says Users Are Protected From Alleged NSA Malware
Up-to-date Microsoft customers are safe from the purported National Security Agency spying tools dumped online, the software company said Saturday, tamping down fears that the digital arsenal was poised to wreak havoc across the internet. In a blog post , Microsoft Corp. security manager Phillip Misner said that the software giant had already built defenses against nine of the 12 tools disclosed by TheShadowBrokers, a mysterious group that has repeatedly published NSA code . The three others affected old, unsupported products. "Most of the exploits are already patched," Misner said. ABC

Interest In Where And When Trump May Attend Church Services
As Easter Sunday arrives, President Donald Trump has yet to attend a church service in the capital since the worship events of his inauguration weekend in January.
Trump was spending this holiday at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Florida, a frequent weekend destination. The White House would not say if he would go to Easter services. A year ago, while a candidate, he attended the nearby Episcopalian church where he and Melania Trump were married. Where a president worships is always of interest in Washington. ABC

Electric Grid Study Ordered By U.S. Energy Chief To Boost Coal
U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry is ordering a study of the U.S. electric grid, with an eye to examining whether policies that favor wind and solar energy are accelerating the retirement of coal and nuclear plants critical to ensuring steady, reliable power supplies. The 60-day review, which Perry set in motion Friday, comes as regulators increasingly wonder how to balance electric reliability with a raft of state policies that prioritize less stable renewable energy sources. Bloomberg

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U.S. Treasury Has Switzerland In Its Sights
Switzerland was again included among the countries singled out by the U.S. Treasury for the value of their currencies and exports. That could make life more complicated for the Swiss National Bank, which has used foreign exchange interventions for the better part of a decade to counter an overvalued currency that risked tipping the economy into a recession. The U.S. department is required by law to report to Congress twice a year on whether its major trading partners are gaming their currencies. The latest report was issued Friday. Given its interventions and trade surplus, Switzerland got added to the watch list last year, and any country deemed to be engaging in unfair practices could face penalties. Bloomberg

Siege Has Ended, But Battle Over Public Lands Rages On
A year ago, this corner of rural Oregon became center stage in the drawn-out drama over public lands when armed militia leaders seized a national wildlife refuge, arguing that the government had too much control over land in the West. Now that President Donald Trump is in office, people here and in other parts of the 11 states where 47 percent of the landmass is publicly owned are watching to see what he will do on everything related to public lands, from coal mining and cattle grazing to national monuments and parks. In Burns, some ranchers and others are feeling emboldened, hopeful that regulatory rollbacks by the federal government will return lands to private use and shore up a long-struggling economy. Las Vegas Sun

Military Seeks Civilians With High-Tech Skills To Counter IS
A decade ago, he was a young Army soldier training Iraqi troops when he noticed their primitive filing system: handwritten notes threaded with different colors of yarn, stacked in piles. For organization's sake, he built them a simple computer database. Now an Army reservist, the major is taking a break from his civilian high-tech job to help America's technological fight against Islamic State group. He's part of a growing force of experts the Pentagon has assembled to defeat the extremists. "The ability to participate in some way in a real mission, that is actually something that's rare, that you can't find in private sector," said the 38-year-old Nebraska native who is working at U.S. Cyber Command at Fort Meade, Maryland. "You're part of a larger team putting your skills to use, not just optimizing clicks for a digital ad, but optimizing the ability to counter ISIS or contribute to the security of our nation." Las Vegas Sun

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VP Pence Embarks On 10-Day Asia-Pacific Swing
Vice President Mike Pence embarked Saturday on a 10-day trip to Asia where his first stop will be South Korea, a nation on edge over recent saber-rattling from the North. From there, Pence will visit Japan, Indonesia and Australia. A spokesman said Pence's main mission on the Korean peninsula will be to reassure South Korea of the "ironclad" commitment by the United States to defend its ally should the North continue its string of military provocations including a recent missile launch off its eastern coast. President Donald Trump this week said the United States would consider unilateral action against North Korea if the tests continue. The Pentagon said it is preparing contingency plans for the possibility North Korea will hold a nuclear test or launch another test missile while Pence is in Seoul. On Saturday, the military showed off new, more advanced missiles. UPI

Pentagon Readies Largest Deployment In Somalia Since Black Hawk Down
The U.S. military authorized an additional 40 ground troops be deployed in Somalia, the largest presence in the African country since the 1993 incident known as Black Hawk Down. The Pentagon said 40 soldiers from the Fort Campbell, Ky.,-based 101st Airborne Division would be deployed to Somalia to help assist the fledgling central government's armed forces with logistical training and support in its ongoing fight against the terrorist group al-Shabab. The soldiers will not train Somali soldiers in actual combat tactics, Stars and Stripes reported. UPI

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IRAN'S CREEPING CRESCENT AND ISRAEL'S GREATEST STRATEGIC THREAT
ON MARCH 15, the bloody and tragic civil war in Syria marked its sixth anniversary. Half a million people have been killed, one million wounded and 10 million – nearly half the population – have been uprooted and are now refugees. Occasionally, the world pays lip service, but mostly remains mute and shows its cynicism in face of the atrocities. All involved parties, from the region and outside, care solely about their interests with little compassion for the human cost. Though Israel opened a field hospital on its Syrian border and has so far treated 3,000 wounded Syrians, it is no exception. Jerusalem Post

Syria War: Huge Bomb Kills Dozens Of Evacuees In Syria
A huge car bomb has blasted a convoy of coaches carrying evacuees from besieged government-held towns in Syria, killing at least 45 people. It shattered coaches and set cars on fire, leaving a trail of bodies including children, as the convoy waited in rebel territory near Aleppo. There were fears of revenge attacks on evacuees from rebel-held towns, being moved under a deal. But the exchange later resumed, with coaches reaching safety on both sides. The "Four Towns" deal brokered by Iran and Qatar was meant to relieve suffering in besieged towns - Foah and Kefraya in the north-west which are under government control, and rebel-held Madaya and Zabadani, near Damascus. BBC

Iran Election: President Rouhani Registers To Run Again
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has registered to run for office again in elections next month. Judge and cleric Ebrahim Raisi, who also registered on Friday, is the leading candidate for hardliners. A third contender is former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who registered despite being advised by the supreme leader that running was "not in his interest and that of the country". Candidates will be vetted and a final list of runners announced on 27 April. Elections for the four-year presidential term take place on 19 May. BBC

Falling US Retail Sales Cast Doubt On Further Fed Interest Rate Rise
Falling retail sales and lower inflation in the US have added to signs that the world’s biggest economy has lost momentum in recent months, casting doubt over how many more times the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this year. Stronger takings at clothing and electronics stores in March were not enough to offset a continued drop in demand for cars, according to figures from the US government (pdf). As a result, retail sales fell for the second month running. The 0.2% drop was deeper than forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists and followed a bigger than previously reported decline of 0.3% in February. Guaridan

Trump, Trade, Interest And Aid Make For A Challenging IMF Summit
Geopolitical tensions, uncertainty about the future of the EU and an increasingly unpredictable US president form the fraught backdrop to this year’s spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank this week. The prospect of rising protectionism also looms large for the IMF, a multilateral organisation set up during the second world war to foster cooperation between economies. Its co-host, the World Bank, faces similarly daunting challenges to its mission to cut poverty and inequality. As the two bodies prepare to bring together thousands of delegates in Washington, including finance ministers, central bankers and business leaders, we look at five key themes they will discuss. Guardian

‘He’s One Of Us’: Erdogan Looks To His Roots For Referendum Victory As Turkey Goes To The Polls
The rough Istanbul streets where he sold sesame bread as a boy are now overshadowed by a football stadium bearing his name. His face looms from an enormous banner hanging off the mosque in the mountain village where he spent summers as a child. And the prison system where he was once jailed for reading an Islamist poem now holds tens of thousands of his political enemies. If President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an prevails in Turkey’s constitutional referendum on Sunday – and polls give him the slimmest of leads – it will cap an extraordinary rise from the religious lower-middle class to becoming the most powerful man in modern Turkish history. Telegraph

Donald Trump Uses Easter To Drop Message Of Doom For Words Of Hope
“My fellow Americans, this is a season of great hope,” is how Donald Trump begins this week’s White House address. Easter, he continues, is a time when “we are grateful for the tremendous blessings of this land, our home”. After campaigning on a message of fear and delivering an inaugural address remembered for its depiction of “American carnage” - all rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones – the US president sounds like a man reborn, using the holiday weekend to deliver his most optimistic vision yet. Telegraph

UN Mission Calls For Restraint As Violence Erupts In A Number Of Places Across South Sudan
A senior United Nations official in South Sudan has called for restraint and underlined the need to ensure the protection of civilians as fresh fighting has erupted between Government and opposition forces in a number of locations across the country. According to a news release issued by the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), clashes between the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and opposition groups have taken place in Raga (western South Sudan), Waat (Jonglei state, eastern South Sudan), and in Wunkur and Tonga towns (northern, Upper Nile state). UN News

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