NEWS   SUNDAY, MAY  7, 2017   NEWS

Trump Administration Calls For Quick, Peaceful Conclusion To Unrest
The Trump administration is monitoring Venezuelan instability, and believes there is a strong need to bring weeks of anti-government protests in the country's capital Caracas to a quick and peaceful conclusion. H.R. McMaster, U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser, met on Friday with Julio Borges, the president of Venezuela's opposition-led National Assembly, about the civil unrest which has been near-daily for five weeks, the White House said on Saturday. They discussed "the need for the government to adhere to the Venezuelan Constitution, release political prisoners, respect the National Assembly, and hold free and democratic elections," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement to Reuters. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Venezuela needs change.

Interior Tags 27 Designated Monuments For Review, Days After Trump Orders Review Of 'Land Grab'
The Trump administration is moving swiftly on an order by President Trump just days ago to review millions of acres of land under government protection, announcing a list Friday of 27 designated national monuments whose protected status could be curtailed or eliminated. The list was released by the Interior Department, charged by Trump just nine days earlier through an executive order to review the land designated by presidents over the past 20 years, in what Trump has called a “massive federal land grab" that "should never have happened." Fox News

Kushner Family In Beijing: 'Invest $500,000 And Immigrate' To US
The Kushner family hopes to lure investments from wealthy business owners in China with the promise of American visas. Nicole Kushner Meyer, the sister of White House adviser and President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, spoke at an event in Beijing on Saturday. She was marketing a Kushner-owned property in New Jersey -- invest in the development and get into the United States on a so-called EB-5 visa. The EB-5 visa allows immigrants a path to a green card if they invest more than $500,000 in a project that creates jobs in the United States. CNN
VOA VIEW: Trump cannot allow any favoritism.

FCC Is Reviewing Complaints About Colbert's Trump Jokes
Right now there's a severe overreaction to the FCC chairman's comments about Stephen Colbert. No, the government is not trying to muzzle one of the most famous comedians in America because he made a vulgar joke about President Trump. Colbert is not being censored. Despite all of Friday's social media chatter and conflicting news headlines, the FCC is doing exactly what it always does. Following Monday's barrage of jokes, including one that implied Trump was taking part in a sexual act with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Colbert and "The Late Show" found itself in the middle of a backlash. Trump supporters felt he had crossed the line, and others said the joke was homophobic. CNN
VOA VIEW: Colbert should resign or be fired.

Always Dreaming wins Kentucky Derby on sloppy track
In big money race after big money race, the combination of trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez has been powerful across the country for nearly two decades. Now, their partnership has claimed the ultimate prize. Always Dreaming, who didn’t break his maiden until Jan. 25 but showed his talent in Florida this spring with a series of stunning performances, delivered a powerful victory in the 143rd Kentucky Derby on Saturday, splashing through the Churchill Downs stretch 2 3/4 lengths in front of 33-to-1 longshot Lookin At Lee. Though it was the second Derby victory for both Pletcher and Velazquez, winning it as a team was a long time coming. USA Today

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How One U.S. State Is Leading The Charge To Dismantle Obamacare
For nearly three years, Democrats and former President Barack Obama pointed to Kentucky as one of the Affordable Care Act’s biggest success stories. A poor, rural state that straddles the North and South, Kentucky was an early adopter of the healthcare law commonly known as Obamacare and saw one of the country’s largest drops in the uninsured rate. Now Kentucky is poised for a new distinction: to be the first state to save money by reducing the number of people on Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor and disabled and a central tenet of Obamacare. Reuters

Tennessee 'Natural Meaning' Law Raises Fears In LGBT Community
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam on Friday enacted a bill that critics say is an underhanded way of denying rights to same-sex couples by insisting on the "natural and ordinary meaning" of words in state statues. The legislation, which was signed by the Republican governor despite pressure from civil liberty and gay-rights groups, requires words in Tennessee law be interpreted with their "natural and ordinary meaning, without forced or subtle construction that would limit or extend the meaning of the language." It did not explain, however, what that means. Reuters

How Abstaining Far-Left French Voters Could Hand Le Pen Victory
Far-right populist Marine Le Pen is behind in the polls and an outsider to win France's presidential elections Sunday. But she still has a slim path to victory, according to experts, one that shares similarities with the more ardent left-wing supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders in the U.S. election last year. Polls predict Le Pen will get around 40 percent of the vote, a huge increase on her party's previous performances, but not enough defeat centrist front-runner Emmanuel Macron, who is tipped to score around 60 percent and win the presidency. Although unlikely, a victory for Le Pen would represent a political earthquake not just in France, but across Europe and beyond. As a populist, she sees herself as a continuation of the movement that elected President Donald Trump, whose victory she hailed as "an additional stone in the building of a new world." MSNBC
VOA VIEW: Le Pen is a joke, but Macron is a leftest.

French Presidential Candidate Macron Slams ‘Massive and Coordinated’ Hack
The political movement of French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron said it has been hacked and internal information leaked in a cyber-attack hours before polls re-opened in the country's hugely consequential election. En Marche! said it "was the victim of a massive and coordinated piracy action" and emails, accounting documents, contracts and other materials were disseminated on social media. It said part of the leak involves false documents. The timing of the leak, hours before the statutory final-day campaigning ban came into effect, means Macron will not be able to respond to any potential revelations before Sunday's second-round vote, in which he faces a challenge from far right populist Marine Le Pen. MSNBC

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Marijuana-Related Hospitalizations Quadruple Among Kids In Colorado After Legalization
Colorado hospitals have experienced a surge in visits involving teenagers and young adults testing positive for marijuana since the state legalized medical and recreational pot, according to new research. The annual number of marijuana-related emergency room visits logged by Colorado’s children’s hospital system spiked from 106 in 2005 to 631 in 2014, Dr. George Wang of Children’s Hospital Colorado wrote in a study scheduled to be presented Monday in San Francisco. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Those who are hospitalized while under the influence should be properly punished.

GOP Congressman: “Nobody Dies Because They Don’t Have Access To Health Care"
Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador sparked outrage from his audience and online after saying "nobody dies" for lack of health care access in a town hall Friday night at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. Labrador made the comments the day after the U.S. House passed a GOP-led health care bill repealing and replacing chunks of Obamacare. Labrador, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, was responding to an audience member who expressed concern about how the bill would affect Medicaid recipients. CBS
VOA VIEW: No one in the US is denied health care - insurance and health care are two different things.

Trump Says Australia's Health Care Beats The U.S.'s
Just hours after House Republicans moved forward with their new health plan, President Donald Trump took a moment to praise a completely different health-care system. Australia, he said, has "better health care than we do." Mr. Trump's assessment of Australia's health-care system came as he also promised the American Health Care Act (ACHA) would be "fantastic health care." Republicans in the House on Thursday voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with the ACHA. The president's statements beg two questions: just how does Australia's health-care system compare to the current U.S. system, and will the ACHA help raise U.S. standards?  By many measures, Australia's health-care system provides better outcomes at a lower cost than the U.S. system, according to data tracked by the Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker. CBS
VOA VIEW: The US is high in everything.

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House Republicans Face Voters In Home Districts Angry Over Health Care Bill
Rep. Tom Reed of New York, who was among the Republican members of Congress to vote for a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, held a string of hometown forums on Saturday where he was lambasted by crowds of angry voters and signs that read, "GOP Disaster" and "Why do you want to kill my daughter?" Reed, whose district in upstate New York includes the cities of Ithaca and Corning, held three town hall meetings where the overwhelming majority of attendees had questions about health care. The congressman was met with boos and jeers throughout the forums, with people repeatedly chanting "Shame!" and "Vote him out!" ABC
VOA VIEW: Most don't know good from bad.

EPA Chief Recuses Himself From Lawsuits He Had Joined As Oklahoma's Attorney General
EPA chief Scott Pruitt has recused himself from lawsuits against the Environmental Protection Agency that he was involved in as Oklahoma's attorney general. Pruitt’s recusal statement, obtained by E&E news and dated May 4, outlines several lawsuits he has agreed not to be involved in until one year after his Senate confirmation on Feb. 18 of this year. He also will not take part in any cases in which the state of Oklahoma is a party. "I am taking this action to avoid even the appearance of any impropriety," Pruitt said in the statement. ABC

Trump Weighing 95 Percent Cut To Drug Office, Chief Warns Staff
The Trump administration is weighing a cut of almost 95 percent of the budget for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy at a time the president has pledged to aggressively combat opioid addiction, according to an internal memo. The office, which coordinates much of U.S. drug strategy, including responses to trafficking, could see several grant programs for drug prevention discontinued under the proposal, which was decried by prevention advocates and members of Congress from both parties when it was reported on Friday. “These drastic proposed cuts are frankly heartbreaking and, if carried out, would cause us to lose many good people who contribute greatly to ONDCP’s mission and core activities,’’ Richard Baum, acting director, wrote Friday in a staff memo that was provided to news outlets. Bloomberg

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Buffett Says Berkshire Stock To Gain The Day After He Dies
Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., assured shareholders that they’ll be fine after he’s gone. “If I die tonight, I think the stock would go up tomorrow,” Buffett, 86, said Saturday at Berkshire’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. “And there’d be speculation about breakups and all that sort of thing, so it would be a good Wall Street story.” Buffett was answering an investor’s inquiry on whether Berkshire would repurchase stock if the shares fell after the billionaire and his 93-year-old vice chairman, Charles Munger, were to move on. The idea underpinned a larger question of succession planning at Berkshire. Buffett over five decades has expanded the conglomerate into industries including insurance, energy and transportation, while assembling a $135 billion stock portfolio. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: Time will tell.

Curious Trump Team Query Now Seen As Russia Warning Sign
In late November, a member of Donald Trump's transition team approached national security officials in the Obama White House with a curious request: Could the incoming team get a copy of the classified CIA profile on Sergey Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the United States? Marshall Billingslea, a former Pentagon and NATO official, wanted the information for his boss, Michael Flynn, who had been tapped by Trump to serve as White House national security adviser. Billingslea knew Flynn would be speaking to Kislyak, according to two former Obama administration officials, and seemed concerned Flynn did not fully understand he was dealing with a man rumored to have ties to Russian intelligence agencies. To the Obama White House, Billingslea's concerns were startling: a member of Trump's own team suggesting the incoming Trump administration might be in over its head in dealing with an adversary. Las Vegas Sun

As Afghan Stalemate Grinds On, Trump Mulls Additional Troops
As the Trump administration weighs sending more troops to Afghanistan, the 16-year war grinds on in bloody stalemate. Afghan soldiers are suffering what Pentagon auditors call "shockingly high" battlefield casualties, and prospects are narrowing for a negotiated peace settlement with the Taliban. The insurgents may have failed to capture and hold a major city, but they are controlling or influencing ever more territory. "The situation is deteriorating," said Stephen Biddle, a George Washington University professor and close Afghan war observer. Las Vegas Sun

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Yellen Delivers Personal Message Urging Better Workplace Rules For Women
Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, in an unusually personal speech at her alma mater, argued for greater participation by women in the workforce. Yellen spoke at Brown University, where she reminisced about women and family members, including her husband's aunt, who attended Brown in the 1920s, and struggled to overcome gender stereotypes in her career as a mathematician. The speech was entitled "So We Can All Succeed." Yellen cited recent studies that showed the United States is 17th out of 22 developed nations in terms of female workforce participation. Reaching parity with the number of men who work could increase the nation's entire economic output by as much as 5 percent, she said. UPI

Appeals Court Allows Suit Over Airline Bag Fees To Move Forward
A federal appeals court overturned a lower court's decision to dismiss a California woman's lawsuit to have US Airways' $15 bag fee refunded after they lost her luggage. While the $15 fee might seem paltry, the woman's lawyers have sought to turn the case into a class-action lawsuit, which could put American Airlines, which took over US Air, on the hook for returning millions in luggage fees for customers whose bags failed to arrive on time. Haley Hickcock-Huffman filed suit against US Air to get her $15 back after the bag she checked failed to arrive on her flight from San Louis Obispo, Calif., to Colorado Springs, Colo., in 2013. A district court judge dismissed the suit, saying the airline never promised to refund the fee as part of its written terms of service. Under the federal Airline Deregulation Act, the judge ruled airlines are only held to a "best effort" standard in delivering luggage. UPI

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LIBERMAN, GORKA TO HIGHLIGHT JPOST CONFERENCE IN NEW YORK
The most interesting and important voices from Israel and the Jewish world come together in the Big Apple. The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York kicks off at 4 p.m. Israel time on Sunday with a star-studded lineup that is sure to make headlines in Israel and the US. Six senior government ministers will be at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Manhattan, including Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz. Opposition leader Isaac Herzog will be on hand to provide an alternative viewpoint and world-renowned legal expert Alan Dershowitz will provide insight into the legal issues facing Israel in world forums. Jerusalem Post

TRUMP REFUSED TO PUSH BACK ISRAEL TRIP TO JUNE
Washington declined Israel's request to push back US President Donald Trump's Israel visit to June, sources told London based newspaper Al Hayat reported over the weekend. Israeli officials reportedly wanted Trump's visit to coincide with the 50th anniversary celebration of the Six Day War and Jerusalem Day, which is often celebrated as the reunification of Jerusalem. The sources stated that the timing would not work out with the NATO meeting and G7 Summit, the main purpose of Trump's visit over seas. Arriving during the celebrations in Israel could also give a biased appearance to America's Israel relations, the sources added. It was stressed that an important part of the trip was Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia. Jerusalem Post

Hamas Chooses Ismail Haniya As New Leader
The Palestinian militant group Hamas has announced that Ismail Haniya has been chosen as its new overall leader. He succeeds Khaled Meshaal, who has served the maximum two terms in office. Mr Haniya, 54, lives in Gaza, which Hamas has ruled since 2007, unlike Mr Meshaal, who lives in Qatar. Mr Haniya is seen as a pragmatist who will try to ease Hamas's international isolation. The group published a new policy document this week regarded as an attempt to soften its image.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum confirmed on Saturday that Mr Haniya had been selected as the politburo chief. BBC

Pope Francis Angered By America's 'Mother Of All Bombs' Name
Pope Francis has criticised the naming of the US military's largest non-nuclear explosive ever used in combat as "the mother of all bombs". "I was ashamed when I heard the name," the pontiff told an audience of students at the Vatican. "A mother gives life and this one gives death, and we call this device a mother. What is going on?" he asked. Last month the US dropped such a bomb, which weighs 21,600lb (9,800kg), on Islamic State militants in Afghanistan. BBC

Trump Immigration Policy Spurs Ire At Kentucky Derby: 'We Can't Find Workers'
A dark cloud has been hanging over the Kentucky Derby this weekend as horse trainers have made public their anger at Trump’s immigration policies, which they say are hurting the Kentucky Derby, the US’s most glamorous horse racing event. “We can’t find workers this year – it’s been tough,” says Julio Rubio of the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. “Most of the workers we have at the track won’t even leave to go out at night to buy groceries because they are so scared of being deported.” Guardian

Texas Adoption Agencies Could Reject Jewish, Muslim, Gay Or Single Parents
Republican sponsors of bill set to be debated in state legislature next week say it supports the religious freedom of adoption agencies and foster care providers
Texas governor Greg Abbott responds to questions at City Hall in Dallas. Parents seeking to adopt children in Texas could be rejected by state-funded or private agencies with religious objections to them being Jewish, Muslim, gay, single, or interfaith couples, under a proposal in the Republican-controlled state legislature. Five states have passed similar laws protecting faith-based adoption organizations that refuse to place children with gay parents or other households on religious grounds. The proposed Texas rule would extend to state-funded agencies. Only South Dakota’s measure is similarly sweeping.Guardian
VOA VIEW: A serious dilemma.

Steven Seagal Banned From Ukraine After Being Branded National Security Threat
Steven Seagal has joined fellow actor Gérard Depardieu on a blacklist of cultural figures barred from entering Ukraine. The Under Siege star, 65, whose grandmother was from Vladivostok, has been branded a national security threat after he was granted Russian citizenship last year and voiced support for Russia's seizure of Crimea.
Ukraine's security service said it had banned him from the country for five years, according to news site Apostrophe, which published a letter from the service saying he had “committed socially dangerous actions … that contradict the interests of maintaining Ukraine’s security”. Telegraph

Who Are Russia's Cyber-Warriors And What Should The West Do About Them?
Western intelligence services and cyber security firms say they have identified two particular groups involved in the hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that led to a series of embarrassing emails being leaked to the public ahead of the US presidential election. The first group, known as APT 29, “Cozy Bear,” or “The Dukes,” penetrated the DNC in July 2015. It is believed to be linked to the FSB, the main successor agency to the KGB, the Soviet Union's sprawling intelligence outfit. The second, which security experts call APT 28, or “Fancy Bear,” hacked in March 2016. Crowdstrike, the security firm hired by the DNC to investigate the hack, concluded it was linked to the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), the Russian ministry of defence's intelligence agency. Telegraph

Security Council Condemns Attack Against UN Mission In South Sudan
Strongly condemning the attack against the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on 3 May, the Security Council has called on all parties to immediately adhere to the permanent ceasefire called for in an August 2015 peace agreement. Between 11pm and midnight on 3 May, the Mission's temporary operating base in Leer town in the former Unity State came under small-arms attack from the direction of the nearby Government-held town. According to the Mission, peacekeepers' quick defensive action secured the safety of all of the internally displaced people who had sought UN protection adjacent to the base. UN News

Time To Find 'Magic Formula' For Peaceful Coexistence, Says UNESCO Chief
It is time to find that “magic formula” that will encourage people to live together in peace, the head of the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) urged earlier today at the end of a UN-backed conference on intercultural dialogue in Baku, Azerbaijan. In her closing remarks at end of the event, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova expressed hope and optimism that the world is “on the right path” towards building “inclusive and resilient” societies. UN News

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