NEWS   WEDNESDAY, MAY  3, 2017   NEWS

CNN Refuses To Run Trump Campaign Spot Over 'Fake News' Graphic
CNN and President Trump's reelection campaign are trading written blows over accusations of "fake news" in the campaign's latest advertisement. The campaign's executive director, Michael Glassner, said CNN is stifling their free speech rights and said they are being "censored" because their ad's message "doesn't fit [CNN's] narrative." CNN shot back in a press released posted to Twitter saying the graphic calling the mainstream media "fake news" is "false," which negates the ad's ability to be aired. Fox News
VOA VIEW:  CNN should not be allowed any questions at any administration meetings.

Clinton Blames Comey, WikiLeaks For Election Loss To Trump
Hillary Clinton on Tuesday said she took “absolute personal responsibility” for her losing presidential campaign -- but went on to blame FBI Director James Comey and Russian interference for aiding Republican rival Donald Trump’s ascension to the presidency. Clinton specifically cited the letter from Comey late in the campaign saying agents were looking into possible new information related to Clinton’s secret, homebrewed computer server. She was ultimately never charged with a crime, and Comey cleared Clinton on the Sunday before the election. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Hillary needs to realize she lost because she was a bad candidate.

Dr. Doom: Trump Is The Biggest Risk In The World
Nouriel Roubini, the man who called the 2008 financial crisis, fears Wall Street is badly underestimating the negatives lurking beneath President Trump's agenda. In fact, Roubini, whose dark predictions have given him the nickname "Dr. Doom," believes Trump and his policies have vaulted to the top of the list of risks threatening the global economy. Last year, the biggest concern was a "hard landing" in China that dragged the rest of the world down along with it. Before that, the top danger was thought to be a collapse of the eurozone. "Now, the biggest elephant in the room is the United States," Roubini told CNNMoney's Cristina Alesci this week from the sidelines of the Milken Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California. CNN
VOA VIEW: CNN marks their liberal anti America agenda.

Trump Trade Chief: Our Trade Policy Is Already Working
A strong historic defense of American workers and domestic manufacturers aptly summarizes the first 100 days of the Trump Administration's trade policy. On his first working day in office, President Trump terminated one of the worst trade deals ever proposed: the Trans-Pacific Partnership. TPP would have further eroded the US manufacturing base, decimated our auto industry and surrendered yet more of American sovereignty to globalism. Next, the President informed congressional leaders of his intent to renegotiate one of the worst trade deals the United States ever signed, NAFTA, and the congressional leadership has agreed to accelerate these negotiations once a US trade representative is confirmed. CNN
VOA VIEW: CNN has lost control of their own irony.

Why A Congress That’s Protesting Wasteful Spending Wants $77 Million More For Itself
Republicans have spent years railing against excessive government spending. Yet now that they’re in charge of Congress and the White House, they’re touting a plan that allows legislative branch spending to grow more than the rest of the budget. The plan, due for a vote in the House of Representatives as soon as Wednesday, would give the legislative branch 1 percent more for the rest of fiscal 2017. The overall budget bill, which funds much of the government through Sept. 30, increases all spending by half of 1 percent. The legislative branch would get an additional $77 million. Charlotte Observer
VOA VIEW: Republicans talk well, but do little.

Microsoft Takes Aim At Google With Laptop, Slim Windows
Microsoft is taking aim at Google as it introduced a Surface device for students and slimmed down Windows for the classroom. The new Surface Laptop is the first Surface device without a detachable keyboard. Microsoft says the new laptop will have up to 14.5 hours of battery life, compared with 12 hours for the MacBook Air. The Surface Laptop will come out on June 15. The laptop runs Windows 10 S, a streamlined version of the ubiquitous operating system. It will run only software downloaded from the Windows Store, a limitation that Microsoft touts as a security benefit. Microsoft's previous effort at a slimmed-down Windows, Windows RT, wasn't popular because it wouldn't run older programs unavailable in the Windows Store. Kansas City Star

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60% Jump In Refugees Admitted To U.S. From March To April
With President Trump’s immigration executive orders still being held up by federal courts, the number of refugees admitted into the United States from around the world increased by 60.2 percent in April, with 3,316 arrivals compared to 2,070 in March. The monthly tally is still the second smallest this fiscal year. The last time fewer than 4,000 admissions was recorded in one month – apart from March – was in November 2015, before the Obama administration launched a “surge” in early 2016 aimed at bringing in larger numbers of refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war. The April intake of 3,316 refugees marked a 43 percent drop from the figure for April 2016, when 5,857 were admitted. The president’s executive orders, issued in January and again in March, sought to block all refugees from entering the country for 120 days. The original one also placed an indefinite ban on the admission of refugees from Syria specifically, although that was dropped in the March version. CNS News

As Ryan Highlights ‘Important Things’ In Spending Bill, Trump Says Country “Needs A Good ‘Shutdown’”
In two tweets on Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump defended the omnibus spending bill that has pleased Democrats but angered many Republican voters. The president also said a government shutdown might not be a bad thing: “The reason for the plan negotiated between the Republicans and Democrats is that we need 60 votes in the Senate which are not there! We....either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%. Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!” But at a news conference on Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) defended several “important things” in the bill that will fund government operations through September: CNS News
VOA VIEW: A government shutdown with no repayment for down time would be great.

NSA Collected Americans' Phone Records Despite Law Change
The U.S. National Security Agency collected more than 151 million records of Americans' phone calls last year, even after Congress limited its ability to collect bulk phone records, according to an annual report issued on Tuesday by the top U.S. intelligence officer. The report from the office of Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats was the first measure of the effects of the 2015 USA Freedom Act, which limited the NSA to collecting phone records and contacts of people U.S. and allied intelligence agencies suspect may have ties to terrorism. It found that the NSA collected the 151 million records even though it had warrants from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court to spy on only 42 terrorism suspects in 2016, in addition to a handful identified the previous year. Reuters

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Restaurant, Retail Calorie Disclosure Rule In Flux Under Trump
A much-delayed U.S. rule requiring restaurants and retailers to clearly display food calorie counts has been pushed back again, and could be rewritten or scrapped as the Trump administration rebuffs Obama-era regulations. Notice came shortly after the U.S. Department of Agriculture relaxed some school lunch rules that were part of former first lady Michelle Obama's signature effort to fight childhood obesity. The Food and Drug Administration late on Monday extended the compliance date for the calorie labeling rule from May 5, 2017, to May 7, 2018, to enable further consideration of ways to cut costs and make requirements more flexible. Reuters

United CEO Munoz Apologizes To Lawmakers Over David Dao Incident: ‘This Is A Turning Point’
United Continental CEO Oscar Munoz apologized again Tuesday, this time to hostile lawmakers on Capitol Hill, for the forcible removal of a passenger. "This is a turning point for United," Munoz said told the House Transportation Committee during a tense hearing. One lawmaker, with his hands in the air, cited frustration over problems flyers repeatedly encounter, such as complicated booking systems, confusing fees, long waits and unexplained delays. Committee chairman, Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., opened the hearing by saying Congress will take action if airlines do not act, and he warned that they "would not like the outcome." He argued the airlines owe the public answers. "Something is broken," Shuster said. MSNBC

Hillary Clinton: Tweets Won’t Solve Threat From North Korea
Hillary Clinton called North Korea one of the world's "wicked problems" on Tuesday — and took a swipe at President Donald Trump's tweeting habits at an appearance in New York City. "Negotiations are critical," Clinton said of the efforts to achieve peace with the nuclear-armed nation. "But they have to be part of a broader strategy, not just thrown off on a tweet some morning that, 'Hey, let's get together, you know, see if we can't get along and maybe we can, you know, come up with some sort of idea.' That doesn't work." MSNBC
VOA VIEW: Hillary needs to go back to her own world of nothing.

EU Brexit Chief Warns Time Running Out For Talks
The European Union's point-man on Brexit urged Britain to work tirelessly to conclude negotiations on leaving the bloc, warning Wednesday that time is running out to seal a deal by 2019. Unveiling his mandate for the talks on Britain's departure, Michel Barnier said that in the coming months he will focus on tackling three issues: The future of some five million citizens affected by the move; London's financial debts, which could climb to as much as 100 billion euros (109 billion dollars) according to reports; and border issues with neighboring Ireland. It's the first time a member has ever left the EU, so these negotiations are taking the Europeans into unchartered waters. The process is unprecedented and complicated, and combined with snap elections in Britain, have ratcheted tensions between Prime Minister Theresa May's government and the 27 nations that will remain in the EU. Atlanta Journal

Australian Leader Says North Korea Will Dominate Trump Talks
Australia's prime minister said Wednesday that he and U.S. President Donald Trump will engage as two seasoned businessmen-turned-politicians when they meet for the first time, focusing on North Korea, security and economic issues. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was speaking hours before he departed Sydney for New York, where he will meet Trump on Thursday, more than three months after the two had a heated telephone conversation over a refugee deal. "We'll talk about the wide range of security and economic issues, but top of the list obviously at the moment is North Korea," Turnbull told Seven Network television. Houston Chronicle

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Pro-Trump PAC Rescinds Endorsement, Says White House Failed On Immigration
A political action committee that enthusiastically endorsed then-candidate Donald Trump in the election revoked its backing Tuesday, saying he has “caved” on most of the big promises he made on immigration. Americans for Legal Immigration PAC said Mr. Trump has yet to cancel President Obama’s 2012 deportation amnesty for Dreamers, has set the level of refugees too high, and has sent signals through staff that he may eventually be open to legalizing most illegal immigrants. Washington Times

Trump Blasts Democrats’ Dossier Tactic As A ‘Disgrace’
President Trump says “it’s a disgrace” for Democrats to embrace a discredited dossier by an ex-British spy to attack him and argue for Congress to create a special commission to investigate Russian intervention in the 2016 election. The unverified 35-page series of memos by Christopher Steele accused the Trump campaign of an elaborate criminal conspiracy with Russia to hack Democratic Party computers. Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, read parts of the dossier into the hearing record on March 20, as did three other Democrats, as he argued for a commission. “I think it’s a disgrace,” the president said. “The dossier has been totally discredited, No. 1. No. 2, Adam Schiff is totally partisan, as partisan as you can get. And No. 3, the Russia story is a fake story. It was made up so that they can justify the fact that Hillary Clinton lost an election that a Democrat should not lose because it’s almost impossible for a Democrat to lose the Electoral College. And not only did she lose, but she lost by a lot because I got 306 and [she got] 232.” Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Trump may be right on this point.

Former Acting AG Sally Yates To Testify About Michael Flynn Next Week
National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.  Originally scheduled to testify last month, her appearance before the House Intelligence Committee was abruptly cancelled days before by then-Chairman Devin Nunes, who was in the midst of chasing down information that backed up the President's wiretapping claim. At the time, House and Senate Democrats were eager to hear Yates testify in an open hearing rather than a closed session.  According to multiple sources, when Yates testifies she is expected to reveal that she believed former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was "compromised". Yates notified the White House that Flynn had not been forthcoming about his statements to Vice President Pence about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition period.  Flynn had told Trump officials, including Pence, that he had not talked to Kislyak about U.S. sanctions against Russia -- as the Obama administration was implementing those sanctions. CBS

As Tensions Mount Over Syria And North Korea, World War III Again A U.S. Fear
Ever since the second one ended in explosions bright as the sun, we have feared the start of the third. World War III would be the real war to end all wars, and maybe the human race. Einstein said he didn’t know with what weapons it would be fought, but that World War IV would be settled with sticks and stones. Now, America is butting heads in Syria with Russia, the other great nuclear power. We are watching the range of North Korean nuclear missiles stretch inexorably toward Seattle. And people again are thinking about the unthinkable: an attack of which there is no warning, for which there is no defense, and from which there is no escape. At 92, Annamarie Choo has lived through it all — Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis. Now, she says, “In the top of my mind, I think about war. I don’t know how to say this, other than Russia and America, there are communication problems, a big gap. They don’t really understand each other.’’ USA Today
VOA VIEW: These are very serious times.

Senators Likely To Press FBI Director James Comey On Russian Collusion With Trump Campaign
FBI Director James Comey returns to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, where questions about possible ties between Russian officials and associates of President Trump's campaign are likely to dominate a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. It is Comey's first public testimony in more than a month. In March, Comey made headlines for confirming to another congressional panel that the FBI was in the midst of months-long inquiry into possible collusion between associates of the Trump campaign and Russian operatives.  USA Today

NFL Players Fight Pain With Medical Marijuana: ‘Managing It With Pills Was Slowly Killing Me’
One by one, they entered a nondescript building on the eastern edge of town, 18,000 square feet with no signage out front. They came looking for relief. These nine former professional football players are part of the Denver Broncos Alumni Association. They played in nearly 700 NFL games combined and have enough aches and pains to keep an entire hospital staff busy. “Every day, I wake up in pain, from my ankles to my neck,” said Ebenezer Ekuban, 40, who played defensive end for nine NFL seasons. “It’s part of the territory. I know what I signed up for.” Retirement is a daily exercise in managing pain, which is what brought the men to the unmarked CW Hemp offices on a recent Friday for a tour and a firsthand lesson on the potential benefits of the marijuana plant. As the country’s discussion on the drug broadens, state laws change and public perception shifts, there’s a movement in football circles to change the way marijuana is viewed and regulated within the NFL, which still includes cannabis on its list of banned substances. Washington Post

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Global Stocks Decline Ahead Of US Federal Reserve Meeting
Global stocks declined Wednesday ahead of a meeting of U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers, with markets in Japan and Hong Kong closed for a holiday. KEEPING SCORE: London's FTSE-100 retreated 0.2 percent to 7,237.13 points and France's CAC-40 lost 0.3 percent to 5,387.83. Germany's DAX shed 0.1 percent to 12,490.80. On Tuesday, the CAC-40 added 0.7 percent while the FTSE-100 and the DAX both rose 0.6 percent. India's Sensex was unchanged at 29,909.31. Benchmarks in Singapore and Bangkok advanced while New Zealand, Jakarta and Manila declined. South Korean markets also were closed for a holiday. WALL STREET: U.S. stocks gained but shrinking auto sales offset strong results from industrial companies. Engine maker Cummins sent manufacturers and other industrial companies higher after reporting solid first-quarter earnings. Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler fell after they reported their April sales declined. The S&P rose 0.1 percent to 2,391.17. The Dow gained 0.2 percent to 20,949.89. The Nasdaq composite set another record as it picked up 0.1 percent to 6,095.37. Tampa Tribune

It's Only A Drill: BB&T Exercise Today Tests Response To Mass Shooting
BB&T Center in Sunrise will be the scene of a mass-shooting drill Wednesday morning. Dozens of law enforcement and fire rescue departments will participate in the 9 a.m. drill to test their readiness should a shooting breakout in the arena. “Scores of spectators will be injured after a fictitious fan-appreciation day goes terribly wrong when gunfire erupts in the arena,” said Mike Jachles, spokesman for Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue. Local, state and federal officials will respond en masse and will rush the pretend victims to local hospitals. Among the participants will be the FBI, the Broward and Palm Beach sheriffs’ offices, six local police departments and 14 hospitals. Sun Sentinel

Bernanke: Trump's Pledge To Revive U.S. Manufacturing Is "Not Realistic"
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is challenging President Donald Trump's claim that manufacturing jobs in industries such as coal mining can make a comeback in the U.S. "We're not going to have people on assembly lines putting cars together anymore, because we have robots," Bernanke said in an interview with CBSN where he discussed his new book, "The Courage to Act: A Memoir of the Financial Crisis and Its Aftermath. "We don't need as many coal miners because we have other forms of energy and cleaner forms of energy." Instead, Bernanke suggested, "What we need to do is bring people into the growing sectors and have them find good, well-paying jobs in those growing sectors." On the campaign trail, Mr. Trump repeatedly touted the return of manufacturing jobs and vowed to boost annual annual economic growth to at least 3 percent. CBS
VOA VIEW: Bernanke needs to go back to  his hole.

Mexico Captures Sinaloa Cartel Leader Damaso Lopez
One of the Sinaloa cartel leaders who launched a struggle for control of the gang following the re-arrest of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was captured Tuesday, Mexican prosecutors said. The attorney general's office said that soldiers and prosecution agents carried out a morning raid to capture a drug gang leader it called "Damaso N." A federal official confirmed the suspect is Damaso Lopez, known by the nickname "El Licenciado" — a title for college graduates. Lopez was long considered Guzman's right-hand man and helped him escape from a Mexican prison in 2001. ABC

Trump And Putin Discussed Syria, North Korea And Terrorism On Call
President Trump spoke by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin today, his third call with the Russian leader since he took office. According to a White House readout of the conversation, the two spoke about efforts to end terrorism in the Middle East, attempts to de-escalate tensions with North Korea and the ongoing civil war in Syria. "President Trump and President Putin agreed that the suffering in Syria has gone on for far too long and that all parties must do all they can to end the violence," read the White House release. ABC

North Korea Reportedly Detains American For Committing ‘Hostile Acts’
North Korea said on Wednesday an American man it had detained in late April, the third U.S. citizen being held by the isolated country, was intercepted because he was attempting to commit “hostile acts”. The state-run KCNA news agency said the American, identified last month as Kim Sang Dok, was arrested on April 22 at the Pyongyang airport for committing “hostile criminal acts with an aim to subvert the country”. The latest information about Kim’s detention comes as tensions on the Korean peninsula run high, driven by concerns that the North might conduct its sixth nuclear test in defiance of U.S. pressure and United Nations sanctions. NY Post
VOA VIEW: North Korea is pushing and getting away with it.

US Firm In Iraq Ignores Smuggling, Security Risks For F-16s
An American company that was paid nearly $700 million to secure an Iraqi base for F-16 fighter jets turned a blind eye to alcohol smuggling, theft, security violations, and allegations of sex trafficking - then terminated investigators who uncovered wrongdoing, an Associated Press investigation has found. Documents and interviews with two former internal investigators and a half-dozen former or current Sallyport Global staff describe schemes at Iraq's Balad Air Base that were major contract violations at best and, if proven, illegal. The fired investigators, Robert Cole and Kristie King, said they uncovered evidence that Sallyport employees were involved in human trafficking for prostitution. Staff on base routinely flew smuggled alcohol onto the base in such high volumes that a plane once seesawed on the tarmac under the weight. Rogue militia stole enormous generators using flatbed trucks and a 60-foot crane, driving right past Sallyport security guards. Philadelphia Inquirer

Black Lawmakers To Protest Over Confederate Emblem On Flag
In part of a sweeping debate about the public display of Confederate symbols across the South, some black legislators in Mississippi say they are boycotting a regional meeting that their own state is hosting this summer, to protest the rebel emblem on the state flag. The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus is asking the Southern Legislative Conference to push Mississippi to lose its status as the last state with a flag featuring the Confederate battle emblem - a red field topped by a blue tilted cross dotted by 13 white stars. All eight of Mississippi's public universities and several counties and cities, including Biloxi, have stopped flying the flag because of the Confederate emblem. Most have done it since the June 2015 slayings of nine black worshippers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. The man later convicted in the killings was an avowed white supremacist who had posed for photos holding the Confederate battle flag. Philadelphia Inquirer
VOA VIEW: The South is not an evil empire.

Beef Prices Soar After Blizzard Clobbers Midwest
Cattle futures extended a surge to a record and wholesale beef jumped to a 13-month high after a weekend blizzard hammered the Midwest, and a Kansas livestock group estimated the snowstorm may have killed thousands of animals, signaling tightening meat supplies. More than half of U.S. feedlots are located in the region hit by the massive storm that dumped more than 12 inches (30 centimeters) of snow, blanketing an area from the Texas Panhandle to Nebraska, said Lee Reeve, principal at Reeve Cattle Co. in Garden City, Kansas, and president-elect of the Kansas Livestock Association. Losses were the highest among younger animals and a feedlot with 80,000 head of cattle north of Garden City lost more than 1,000 animals, he said in a telephone interview. Bloomberg

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Melania’s Twitter Account Liked Tweet About ‘Wall’ Between Her And Donald
Melania Trump’s personal Twitter account liked a tweet on Tuesday night that talked about a wall being “built” between her and President Trump. “Seems the only #Wall @realDonaldTrump’s built is the one between him and @FLOTUS #Melania #trump,” read the tweet by Andy Ostroy, a self-described marketer and producer from New York. The tweet was liked by Melania’s verified personal account and not her official government First Lady account, @FLOTUS. The liking cause an uproar among Twitter users. NY Post

JPMorgan To Move Hundreds Of Jobs From London Due To Brexit
The head of investment banking for JPMorgan Chase & Co. says the bank will move hundreds of jobs from London to Dublin, Frankfurt and Luxembourg as Britain prepares to leave the European Union. Daniel Pinto told Bloomberg News on Tuesday some will move "in the short term to be ready for day one." More may follow.
Some international banks have used the U.K. as a jumping off point to conduct business across the EU under an arrangement known as "passporting." But the banks could lose access to the other 27 EU countries if Britain opts to break away from the EU single market. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has told employees in the past that as many as 4,000 people could be relocated depending on how the Brexit negotiations play out. Tampa Tribune

Test Of U.S. Defense Against North Korea Missiles Set This Month
The Pentagon will attempt a new test by the end of this month of whether it can intercept an intercontinental ballistic missile like the ones North Korea is seeking to develop, according to the deputy director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. “It’s coming up later this month,” Rear Admiral Jon Hill said in remarks Tuesday at a “Missile Defense Day” gathering on Capitol Hill that had marketing displays by top contractors including Boeing Co., Raytheon Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp.
Hill said the test has “been planned for a while” and wasn’t intended as a provocation to North Korea or any other nation. Asked after his remarks about the timing, Hill described June 1 as an approximate window for the test. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: North Korea and Jong-Un are going to lose any confrontation.

Sources: Justice Department Will Not Charge Baton Rouge Officers
The U.S. Justice Department has decided not to charge two white Baton Rouge police officers in the death of a black man whose fatal shooting was captured on cellphone video, fueling protests in Louisiana's capital and beyond, The Associated Press has learned. Federal authorities opened a civil rights investigation immediately after the July 2016 police shooting that killed 37-year-old Alton Sterling outside a convenience store where he was selling homemade CDs. A person familiar with the decision disclosed it to the AP on Tuesday. The person was not authorized to talk publicly about the decision and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. Las Vegas Sun

House Backs Bill To Change Overtime Rules For Private Sector
The House has backed legislation that would allow private sector companies to give employees compensation time off rather than overtime pay. The vote was 229-197 on Tuesday as six Republicans joined 191 Democrats in opposing the measure. Republicans cast the measure as offering greater flexibility for employers and workers. Democrats complained that the bill undermines the Fair Labor Standards Act. No Democrat voted for the measure. Republican Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas says the work force has changed dramatically, and that employees in both the public and private sector should have the same chance to balance work and personal life. Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: A smart move.

Study Finds Period Tracking Apps Fail Users
Research has shown that smartphone apps that track menstrual cycles often are not accurate and emphasize form over function. A study by the University of Washington collected information on 2,000 reviews of popular period tracking apps, focusing on nine different apps available for Android and iPhone and surveyed 687 women regarding how and why they use period tracking apps. Almost half of the respondents reported using smartphone apps to track their periods for a number of reasons but primarily to inform their doctors about their last period, a standard question asked of women at check-ups, and to achieve or avoid pregnancy. However, many reported dissatisfaction in the period tracking apps they use. UPI

Half Of U.S. Doctors Paid By Drug, Device Industries
About half of U.S. doctors received payments from the pharmaceutical and medical device industries in 2015, amounting to $2.4 billion, a new study reports. Those payments and gifts very likely encourage doctors to prescribe pricey brand-name drugs and devices pushed by sales representatives, a second study argues. Doctors at academic medical centers were more likely to prescribe cheaper generic drugs than expensive brand-name drugs after their hospitals adopted rules that restricted pharmaceutical sales visits, the researchers said. Restrictions on sales visits were associated with a reduction in prescriptions for brand-name drugs, said lead researcher Ian Larkin, an assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School of Management. UPI
No Trial Balloons: Trump Flips Script With Startling Ideas
Washington policymakers have a time-tested method for rolling out new ideas: float a trial balloon. Spread rumors of a policy change or selectively leak it to the press, then see how it plays and proceed only if it looks doable. Big and startling ideas fly out of his mouth or from his Twitter feed. Then the rest of his administration scrambles to catch up — and to figure out when his statements signal new presidential policies and when they're offhand remarks that mean little. In the past week alone, Trump has suggested he's open to higher gas taxes, tweeted that a government shutdown could be a good thing and called North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un a "smart cookie" whom he'd be honored to meet under the right conditions. Houston Chronicle
VOA VIEW: Trump misstates.

Is Cuba’s potential tourism growth a threat to the rest of the Caribbean?
You might think other Caribbean tourism destinations would be ready to flip their sandals as Cuba's tourism numbers continue to climb. International visitors to Cuba last year rose by 13.9 percent to a record 4 million, second only to the Dominican Republic (5.96 million), while visitors to the Caribbean region as a whole in 2016 increased just 2.4 percent. Cuban tourism officials are expecting another record year in 2017. But some Caribbean leaders say they view the Cuban tourism juggernaut not so much as competition as a way to raise the Caribbean’s tourism profile as a whole. Miami Herald

Abbas Stops Funding Gaza Electricity To Pressure Hamas
The West Bank-based government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will stop paying for electricity in the power-starved Gaza Strip and "dry up" the flow of funds to the territory's Hamas rulers, a senior official said Wednesday. Hamas accused the Abbas government of irresponsible behavior and warned that the announced cuts would be disastrous for Gaza's 2 million residents. Abbas and Hamas have led rival governments since the Islamic militant group seized Gaza in 2007, driving out forces loyal to the Western-backed Palestinian president. Charlotte Observer

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ABBAS: WE WILL NOT ACCEPT ANY SOLUTION THAT DOES NOT INCLUDE STATE ON '67 LINES
On the eve of his first meeting with US President Donald Trump, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday that the Palestinian leadership “will not accept any solution” that does not include a state along 1967 lines and East Jerusalem as its capital. Abbas made the remarks at an event in Washington, D.C., where he spoke before members of the Palestinian diaspora, who reside in the US. Abbas has long stated that he supports the establishment of a Palestinian state along 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, but also proposed minor land swaps in previous negotiations. Land swaps refer to possible exchanges of land, which would permit Israel to annex part of the West Bank and Gaza and a future Palestinian state to annex part of Israel. Jerusalem Post
VOA VIEW: The meeting is a waste of time and it is hoped that Trump doesn't claim is was  productive.

New Hamas Policy Document 'Aims To Soften Image'
The Palestinian militant group Hamas has published a new policy document - the first since its founding charter. It declares for the first time a willingness to accept an interim Palestinian state within pre-1967 boundaries, without recognising Israel. It also says Hamas's struggle is not with Jews but with "occupying Zionist aggressors". The 1988 charter was condemned for its anti-Jewish language. The text is seen as an effort by Hamas, which rules Gaza, to soften its image. "The document gives us a chance to connect with the outside world," spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said. "To the world, our message is: Hamas is not radical. We are a pragmatic and civilized movement. We do not hate the Jews. We only fight who occupies our lands and kills our people." BBC

Venezuela Crisis: Opposition Condemns Maduro Move
Opponents of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro have set up roadblocks and staged demonstrations demanding elections as the country's political and economic crisis deepens. They responded with defiance to his call for a new constitution to end unrest that has killed 28 people. Mr Maduro said his move was necessary to fend off a foreign-backed plot against him. The US said it was a bid to cling to power, while Brazil called it a "coup". The president's opponents want to hold a vote to remove him, blaming the left-wing president for food shortages that have led to rioting. Mr Maduro has rejected their calls and issued a presidential decree creating a 500-member "constituent assembly" to rewrite the constitution, a step that would bypass the opposition-controlled Congress. BBC

Facebook: Leaking Info About Gender Bias Damages Our 'Recruiting Brand'
Facebook is disputing a former employee’s analysis that female engineers have their code rejected 35% more than male engineers, telling employees internally that leaking such information damages its “recruiting brand” and makes it harder for the company to hire women. The original analysis, first reported by the Wall Street Journal and independently confirmed by the Guardian, was conducted by a longtime Facebook software engineer last year. The engineer studied the company’s code review process, looking at the number of times code was rejected, commented upon, or updated; how long it took for code to be accepted; and demographic data about the coder, such as gender and length of employment. Female coders received 35% more “rejects” and 8.2% more comments on their code, the engineer found. The engineer also found that the disparity in rejections for male and female coders was “consistent across time at company”. Guardian

Meeting With Trump Comes At Time Of Crisis For Palestine Leader
Expectations have been set low for meetings between US presidents and Palestinian leaders for many years now, but never as low as the hopes for Donald Trump’s first meeting with Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday, Middle East observers argue. The Palestinian president will arrive at the White House facing a crisis of legitimacy among Palestinians, and new challenges to his leadership. He will meet the most vociferously pro-Israeli president in recent decades who has surrounded himself with Middle East advisers – foremost his son-in-law, Jared Kushner – with deep links to the Israeli settler movement. Guardian

Airlines In US Threatened With New Laws To Improve Passenger Service
U.S. politicians threatened United Airlines and other U.S. carriers on Tuesday with legislation aimed at improving customer service after a passenger was hauled down the aisle of an overbooked flight last month. The House of Representatives transportation committee held a hearing for top airline executives to testify, and to determine how Congress might respond to policies that can adversely affect passengers. In April, David Dao, 69, was dragged from a United flight at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport after he refused to give up his seat to make room for crew members. Telegraph
VOA VIEW: The problem has been blown out of proportion.

Ivanka Trump Reveals She Didn't Have Time For 'Massages' During Election As New Book Aims To 'Debunk Superwoman Myth'
Ivanka Trump said she went into "survival mode" during her father's election campaign, which was so busy that she didn't have time for a massage or meditation. In a new book released on Tuesday, the president's daughter writes about life as a working mother and how she wanted to "debunk the superwoman myth". As well as owning a fashion business, Ms Trump played a prominent role in helping her father get elected in November. "During extremely high-capacity times, like during the campaign, I went into survival mode: I worked and I was with my family; I didn’t do much else," Ms Trump writes, according to an excerpt published by Fortune.   Telegraph

Somalia: 1.4M Children To Suffer Acute Malnutrition This Year – UN Agency
Some 1.4 million children in Somalia are projected to be acutely malnourished this year, an increase of 50 per cent over last year, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) today announced. The figure includes more than 275,000 children who have or will suffer life-threatening severe acute malnutrition. “The combination of drought, disease and displacement are deadly for children, and we need to do far more, and faster, to save lives,” Steven Lauwerier, UNICEF Somalia Representative. UN News

UN Assesses Border Management To Cope With Spike In Returns From Pakistan
With an unprecedented 600,000 Afghans returned from Pakistan last year, the United Nations migration agency has completed an assessment of border management capacity at Afghanistan’s two main border crossings with Pakistan. “With returns in 2017 on track to meet or even surpass the levels of last year, it is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of the current procedures at the border, and to look at how they can be improved,” said Laurence Hart, Afghanistan Chief of Mission of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in a press release. UN News

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