NEWS   MONDAY, MAY  8, 2017   NEWS

ObamaCare Cost Spike Is Trump’s Fault, ACA Architect Says
ObamaCare co-architect Jonathan Gruber -- who infamously said “the stupidity of the American voter” helped get the measure to become law -- now blames Trump for rising premium costs. “Whose fault is this?” Gruber asked on “Fox News Sunday.” “Since President Trump has been elected … premiums are going up and insurers are exiting.” Gruber, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economics professor, argued that perceived rising premium costs are really a one-time increase in 2016 to cover “massively underpriced” policies for the first two years of the 2010 law. Fox
VOA VIEW: Gruber is plain dumb.

Trump Mulling Significant Cuts To White House Drug Office, Memo Warns
The Trump administration is considering making significant cuts to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONCDP) according to a preliminary budget document and an email message that its acting director has circulated to agency staff. The proposed $364 million cut would leave a budget of just $24 million for the office and would eliminate its two major grant programs. The ONDCP is the lead White House office shaping policy on the nation's opioid crisis, among other responsibilities. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Good!

Republicans Are Messing With A Major Source Of American Jobs
The numbers tell the story. Some 1.1 million jobs have been added in health care since 2014, when the Obamacare insurance exchanges started increasing access to care. That's roughly as many jobs as were added at factories and construction sites combined over the same period, according to Labor Department statistics. "Obamacare was a de facto jobs program, whether it was intended that way or not," said Sam Glick, a health care expert and partner at consulting firm Oliver Wyman. The Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, prompted an increase in spending on medical care, and that resulted in more jobs for people who provide those services. CNN

Police Fatally Shot A 15-Year-Old Boy After He Pointed A BB Gun At An Officer
The incident started when a 911 call came in early Saturday, asking officers to check on the welfare of an unarmed boy standing in front of Torrey Pines High School.
While the caller did not provide a name, preliminary information later determined the boy made the call and was referring to himself, San Diego Police said in a statement. When two officers arrived at the scene, they saw the teen. "As the officers got out of their patrol cars to contact the male, the male pulled a handgun that was concealed in his waistband and pointed it at one of the officers," police said. CNN
VOA VIEW: The boy was a victim of his own doing - the officer will suffer for doing the right thing.

Health Care Debate Shifting Over To Senate
The contentious debate over overhauling the health care system shifts to the Senate and a moderate Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, says the Senate will not take up the House bill and will instead start from scratch . Some senators have already voiced displeasure with the health care bill that cleared the House last week. They cite concerns about potential higher costs for older people and those with pre-existing conditions, along with cuts to Medicaid. President Donald Trump is urging Senate Republicans to "not let the American people down." Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, also says the version that gets to the president will likely differ from the House measure. Such a scenario would force the House and Senate to work together to forge a compromise bill. Houston Chronicle

ADB Hoping US Will Step Up And Help Lead Regional Lender
The head of the Asian Development Bank said Sunday he is hoping the U.S. will step up and support the regional lender despite President Donald Trump's avowed preference for bilateral cooperation. ADB President Takehiko Nakao told reporters at a news conference wrapping up the bank's annual meeting that it "isn't really good" that the second largest shareholder in the development bank is lacking a permanent appointee to the U.S. executive directorship. Nakao said he hoped Washington would nominate an ambassador soon. Many such positions have yet to be filled, and the previous U.S. ambassador to the ADB was ordered back to the U.S. along with many other appointees of the previous administration. Houston Chronicle

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Fire In Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge Forces Evacuations In Georgia
A wildfire in Georgia's Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge has forced dozens of nearby residents to leave their homes, authorities said on Sunday, adding that the blaze might not be fully contained for months. About 130,000 acres, or about a quarter of the refuge, have already burned, said Melanie Banton, a spokeswoman for firefighters and park officials battling the West Mims Fire, which began on April 6. Most of the fire is within the refuge, which straddles Georgia's southeast border with Florida, but it is encroaching on private land. No injuries have been reported. Reuters

Obama To Receive Kennedy Foundation 'Profile In Courage' Award
Former U.S. President Barack Obama is expected in Boston on Sunday to receive the John F. Kennedy Foundation's annual "Profile in Courage Award," honoring his accomplishments during his two terms in office in the face of intense political opposition. "President Kennedy called on a new generation of Americans to give their talents to the service of the country," said Caroline Kennedy, John F. Kennedy's daughter, who will present the award at a ceremony beginning at 8:30 p.m. EDT (0030 GMT). Reuters
VOA VIEW: A total liberal waste.

French Election: Centrist Emmanuel Macron Wins Presidency Over Marine Le Pen
Centrist politician Emmanuel Macron was projected to win the French presidential election on Sunday over far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, France's president and prime minister said. At 39, Macron will be France's youngest leader since Napoleon Bonaparte. "I called Emmanuel Macron tonight to congratulate him warmly on his election as President of the Republic," President Francois Hollande said in a statement. Hollande said the large margin of victory confirmed that a majority of citizens had rallied around "the values of the Republic" and affirmed their support for the European Union. MSNBC

Sally Yates To Offer First Public Account Of Flynn's Russia Contacts
For the first time publicly, Yates is expected to recount to a Senate panel a Jan. 26 meeting in which she alerted White House Counsel Don McGahn that Flynn had lied to administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, about his conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Trump's inauguration. Those misrepresentations, Yates would maintain, made the former Army lieutenant general vulnerable to possible blackmail. Specifically troubling, according to officials who have previously described the communications, was that Flynn had talked with the ambassador about sanctions imposed by the Obama administration. Those conversations were secretly monitored by federal authorities, as are most communications involving foreign diplomats. USA Today
VOA VIEW: And the truth is ...

Percentage Of Teens And Children Hospitalized For Suicidal Thoughts Doubled From 2008 To 2015
The study, led by Gregory Plemmons, an associate professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt’s Children’s Hospital, looked at data on suicidal or self-harm diagnoses from 32 children’s hospitals across the United States. Researchers found 118,363 instances from 2008 to 2015. Accounting for 59,631 (50.4 percent) of the incidents were 15- to 17-year-olds. Twelve- to 14-year-olds accounted for 43,682 (36.9 percent) of them, while five- to 11-year-olds accounted for 15,050 (12.7 percent of them). Over time, the percentage of young patients hospitalized for suicidal thoughts, rather than other ailments, more than doubled. In 2008, 0.67 percent of patients were admitted with suicidal thoughts or self-harming behavior. By 2015, that percentage had jumped to 1.79 percent. Washington Post

HHS Secretary Tom Price Firmly Defends Pre-Existing Condition Coverage In New Health Care Bill
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on Sunday firmly defended health care legislation passed in the House this week against charges that people who have pre-existing conditions could see their insurance premiums rise under some circumstances. Asked about the numerous health groups and organizations opposed to the bill during an interview on NBC's "Meet The Press," Price responded, "What I believe they are not recognizing is this is a different and we believe better way" to cover individuals with pre-existing conditions or injuries. Price later added, "sometimes change can be disconcerting to folks. And that's why I would suggest that that list of groups that you had up earlier, say they now oppose it, the fact of the matter is, they're not focusing on the kinds of things that are going to improve the system." MSNBC

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Elizabeth Warren Balls Hard, According To The Rock
Nothing to see here; just two sought-after 2020 presidential candidates sharing a mutual admiration of sorts. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is apparently a big fan of the HBO show Ballers — a fact that was noticed Sunday by none other than the show’s producer and co-star, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. In a tweet to his 11 million followers Sunday afternoon, Johnson thanked Warren and her husband, Bruce Mann, for watching — and also paid the Massachusetts Democrat a quick compliment.
“Like you, we ball hard,” he tweeted, linking to an Uproxx article highlighting the senator’s fandom of Ballers. Warren responded to Johnson’s praise Sunday afternoon — tweeting that she and Mann were looking forward to Ballers Season 3 premiere and referencing a plot line involving her home-state New England Patriots. Boston Globe

A U.S. House Record: Georgia’s 6th Race Costs $30M And Counting
There are so many ads in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District race that they are creating the news. Literally. The tidal wave of spending led a local television broadcaster, WXIA, to temporarily add a 7 p.m. newscast on its sister station. Fans of “The Andy Griffith Show” repeats will have to look elsewhere for the next few weeks. It’s only the latest way the barrage of outside cash and national attention has transformed the race to represent the suburban Atlanta district. Once thought to be a sleepy special election, it is now poised to be the most expensive U.S. House contest in the nation’s history. An Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis shows that about $15 million was spent by candidates and outside groups in the run-up to the April 18 vote, which winnowed an 18-candidate field to a pair of finalists: Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel. Atlanta Journal
VOA VIEW: Hopefully a Republican win.

Fans & Foes Of Campus Gun Law Looking To Propose Changes
Critics as well as supporters of Georgia’s new “campus carry” law are looking for ways to make changes to the guidelines. Some supporters, such as 29-year-old Georgia State University law student Alex Ward, are thinking of fixes to the law that would allow faculty to carry permitted weapons into their own offices. Tamelonie Thomas, 23, a Georgia Southern student who opposed the legislation, is hoping the University System of Georgia will consider signage on campuses explaining where people can carry firearms and training for permit holders. Atlanta Journal

Networks Accused Of ‘Censorship’ For Refusing To Air Pro-Trump Ad Over ‘Fake News’ Jab
Four major television networks — ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN — have come under fire from the Trump camp for “censorship” after refusing to air a political ad over its reference to “fake news.” Jamestown Associates, which produced the 30-second spot touting President Trump’s record during his first 100 days in office, said Friday that the networks’ decision to reject the paid ad is “unprecedented.” “No matter your ideology, the notion of censorship should send a chill up your spine,” said the Republican political consulting firm. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: The liberal media is lose untimely.

Clinton: Macron Win A Defeat To Those Interfering With Democracy
Failed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took a shot at the media and implied that supporters of one candidate in the French presidential election were interfering with democracy. In a tweet Sunday afternoon, the former first lady who was defeated by Donald Trump for the U.S. presidency sent congratulations to Emmanuel Macron and said it was a triumph over democracy’s opponents. “Victory for Macron, for France, the EU, & the world. Defeat to those interfering w/democracy,” she tweeted, before going on to attack the media. She concluded the tweet with “(But the media says I can’t talk about that).” Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Hillary is a loser that has gone crazy.

Condoleezza Rice: Vladimir Putin Trying To Re-Establish "Russian Greatness"
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says that Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to re-establish "Russian greatness" with his assertiveness and aggressiveness abroad. Rice, author of a new book "Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom," says that while there are many things the U.S. needs to cooperate with the Russians on, including the ongoing crisis in North Korea, Putin has not respected certain lines. "The most important thing is to re-establish that the United States is going to defend its allies in NATO under Article 5: 'An attack upon one is an attack upon all', that the United States will not countenance the Russian military threatening our forces by flying very close to our ships or to our planes. I think rebuilding the Defense budget has helped to send that signal," said Rice. CBS

Obama Calls On Lawmakers To Show 'Courage' In Health-Care Fight
Former President Barack Obama on Sunday night called on members of Congress show "political courage" and defend the work his administration did to extend health care coverage to 20 millions Americans. The former president was speaking in Boston after receiving the Profile in Courage Award, presented on the 100th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's birth, and his remarks marked a rare foray into the day-to-day political scrum. In the course of a 45-minute speech, his second since he left office, Obama praised the courage of single mothers who sacrifice for their children and soldiers who put their lives on the line for strangers. But he focused largely on the health-care debate that is roiling the nation following the passage in the House of the Affordable Health Care Act on Thursday. The move is one step in the process of repealing Obama's landmark health-care law. SF Gate
VPA VOEW: Obamacare should fail on its own - fail.

Why Your Next Echo Command Should Be: ‘Disconnect Me From The Internet’
Dr. Herbert Lin, one of the nation’s pre-eminent thinkers on cybersecurity policy, shuns the internet-connected devices that fill some American homes. He’ll have nothing to do with “smart” refrigerators, hands-free home speakers he can call by name, intelligent thermostats and the like. “People say to me, ‘How can you have a doctorate in physics from MIT and not trust in technology?’ And I look at them and say, ‘How can I have a doctorate in physics from MIT and trust technology?’ ” Lin said. Part of what he distrusts is the “internet of things,” and the ease with which hackers can penetrate “smart” devices with digital worms and shanghai them into massive robotic networks to launch crippling digital attacks or generate ever greater quantities of spam. Charlotte Observer

Palestinians Sue Israel Over Attack That Killed Toddler
Relatives of a Palestinian family killed in a firebomb attack blamed on Jewish settlers are suing the Israeli government for damages. Nasser Dawabsheh's brother Saad, sister-in-law Riham and 18-month-old nephew Ali were killed in the 2015 attack. He said on Monday that the family lived in a West Bank village under Israeli control and therefore the government is liable for not protecting them. He says the family seeks unspecified compensation for their loss. The family accuses Israel of ignoring the incitement and violence of Jewish West Bank settler extremists. The attack in the village of Duma and the drawn-out investigation helped fuel months of Israeli-Palestinian violence. Then 4-year-old Ahmad was the only family member to survive. Charlotte Observer

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JFK At 100: Secrets Of Camelot, Hiding In Plain Sight
The 29th of this month marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of our 35th president, John F. Kennedy. That's the subject of our commentary this morning, from Tom Oliphant, co-author of the new book, "The Road to Camelot," published by CBS' Simon & Schuster: Until a couple of years ago, I had no idea that John Kennedy rejected Lyndon Johnson barely two hours before he picked him as his running mate. He and his brother, Robert, had falsely assumed for months that Johnson didn't want the Veep spot. But when JFK suddenly realized Johnson was in fact lusting for the job, he and his brother batted it around, but decided they really didn't want Johnson. The issue was trust. Still, they needed a way to placate the powerful Texan if they didn't pick him, but failed to find it. As Bob Kennedy ruefully put it, "We came up with the idea of trying to get rid of him … and it didn't work." CBS

Ryan Says It's 'A Bogus Attack From The Left' To Claim Health Care Bill Was Rushed
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, pushed back against criticism that Republican representatives rushed through their Obamacare replacement bill without adequate review or analysis of the legislation's impact. “This is kind of a bogus attack from the left,” Ryan said of such criticism in an exclusive interview Sunday with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on "This Week." Democrats and some Republicans slammed the House GOP leadership’s decision to hold a vote on the American Health Care Act on Thursday shortly after a final draft of the bill was posted online and before the legislation was reviewed by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). ABC
VOA VIEW: The left hates a conservative win.

Jared Kushner's Sister Woos China's 'Golden Visa' Investors
The sister of President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner has been in China courting individual investors with a much-criticized federal visa program that provides a path toward obtaining U.S. green cards. Kushner's sister Nicole Meyer promoted One Journal Square, a Kushner Companies' development in Jersey City, at an event Sunday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Shanghai, according to participants. The pitch seeks to raise funds from Chinese investors through the U.S. government's EB-5 visa program, which allows permanent U.S. residency for those who finance projects that create a certain amount of jobs. ABC
VOA VIEW: Kushner's sister is trying to profit by her relationship.

With Macron Win Confirmed, European Market Rally Hits Pause
When Emmanuel Macron topped the first round of voting in the French presidential election two weeks ago, French stocks soared to near-decade highs. On Monday, the reaction to his victory in the runoff was decidedly subdued: investors had been fully expecting it and seem wary of the difficulties he'll face governing a divided country. In midday trading, the CAC 40 index of leading French shares was down 1 percent at 5,379. Other indexes across Europe were also trading lower, while the euro, which briefly hit a six-month high above $1.10 overnight, was down 0.5 percent at $1.0942. In market parlance, it's a clear case of buying the rumor and selling the fact. "With markets having rallied throughout last week in expectation of a Macron win, there was little upside left for equities and the euro," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG. Tampa Tribune

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Steven Seagal Is Banned From Ukraine As A ‘Socially Dangerous’ Security Threat
American action star Steven Seagal is “Under Siege” in Ukraine after the country blacklisted him as a national security threat. Seagal has a bit of a “bromance” with Russian President Vladimir Putin, attending martial arts events with him and defending his policies. Seagal is banned from entering Ukraine for five years on grounds he has “committed socially dangerous actions ... that contradict the interests of maintaining Ukraine’s security,” the Washington Post reports, citing a Ukrainian security letter. Though the letter does not outline specific statements that got the actor banned, Seagal once participated in a pro-Putin motorcycle rally in Crimea, a disputed peninsula that Russia annexed in 2014 after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown in a revolution. Kansas City Star

All Eyes On The Florida Budget As Lawmakers Return To State Capitol For One Final Act
Lawmakers return to the Capitol on Monday for one day of overtime where they’re expected to debate and pass an $82.4 billion state budget and a series of sweeping policy bills negotiated in secret and disclosed publicly last week. After disagreements on healthcare spending delayed a budget deal — the one thing the Constitution requires the Legislature to do — lawmakers missed a key deadline and were forced to extend their annual session, which was supposed to end Friday. Lawmakers are expected to overwhelmingly pass the budget, but their approval alone isn’t enough. It then goes to Gov. Rick Scott who can veto individual line items or the entire plan.
That possibility has some in the Legislature bracing to return to Tallahassee to override Scott’s vetoes, a move that requires two-thirds of the House and Senate to agree. At least some Democrats would have to join with Republican leaders to do that. Miami Herald

If Shutdown Needed To Fix Washington, ‘So Be It,’ Mulvaney Says
If it takes shutting down the U.S. government to fix a broken budget appropriations process, that’s acceptable to the White House, said budget director Mick Mulvaney.
“This president is willing to think outside the box and do things differently around here in order to change Washington,’’ Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation’’ on Sunday. “If that comes to a shutdown in September, so be it.’’ Mulvaney was asked about President Donald Trump’s Twitter message on May 2 that “Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!’’ following the agreement on a $1.1 trillion bill to fund the government through the end of September. The fiscal 2018 budget must be approved by October 1. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: Washington needs to be shut down with no reverse payments.

Buffett Says Money Spent On Plumbers Better Than On Hedge Funds
Warren Buffett isn’t done criticizing hedge-fund managers for wasting clients’ money. At the annual meeting of his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. he again pressed the argument that, in aggregate, investment professionals aren’t worth their fees -- and that people would be better off sticking their money in a low-cost index fund. He also challenged how hedge fund managers are paid. "If you go to a dentist, if you hire a plumber, in all the professions, there is value added by the professionals as a group compared to doing it yourself or just randomly picking laymen," Buffett, 86, said. "In the investment world it isn’t true. The active group, the people that are professionals in aggregate, are not, cannot, do better than the aggregate of the people who just sit tight." Bloomberg

Trump Rolls Out Red Carpet For Some Unions More Than Others
President Donald Trump says labor unions have an open door to his White House, but so far, he's holding the door a little more ajar for some organizations than others.
Trump has put out the welcome mat for the nation's construction trades, with whom he's had relationships during decades of building office towers and hotels. Also invited in have been auto, steel and coal workers who backed him during the 2016 election. But there's been no White House invitation for other unions representing the sprawling but shrinking pool of 14.6 million workers who collectively bargain with employers in the labor movement. "You can tell Congress that America's building trades and its president are very much united," Trump told North America's Building Trade Unions, even as he pledged in the same speech, "America's labor leaders will always find an open door with Donald Trump." Las Vegas Sun

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Sen. Manchin: Slashing 'Drug Czar' Budget Would Cause Pandemic
A U.S. senator said Sunday a proposal to cut nearly the entire budget of the "drug czar" would be a "pandemic" but the Health and Human Services secretary said President Donald Trump is committed to fighting drug abuse. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said on CBS's Face The Nation that he hoped the White House's reported plans to cut nearly the entire budget for the Office of National Drug Control Policy were "not a serious consideration." Tom Price said on NBC's Meet the Press "this is a budget that hasn't been completed yet." "The president has an absolute commitment to making certain that we fight the opioid crisis," Price said . "Whether it's through an office within the White House or whether it's through a department, an agency of government, I don't think the American people care. What they care about is that we are absolutely addressing this opioid crisis in the most aggressive and effective manner possible." UPI

Protests Support, Oppose New Orleans' Plans To Remove Confederate Monuments
Groups supporting and opposing New Orleans' plans to remove three Confederate monuments gathered Sunday to make their voices heard. Mayor Mitch Landrieu previously announced to remove the statute of Jefferson Davis, then two of his generals, Gen. Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard, within the next month, though exact dates have not been announced. On Sunday afternoon, critics of the statues marched in a parade "to bury white supremacy." The demonstrators finished at Lee Circle, where Lee's statute appears. White supremacist and neo-Confederate groups have been encouraging their followers online to turn out as well. One protesters held up a sign: "I'm just here for the violence." UPI
VOA VIEW: The South was not a evil empire.

N. Korea Detains Another American Over Alleged Hostile Acts
North Korea on Sunday said it detained another American citizen over unspecified hostile acts against the country. North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency said Kim Hak Song, an employee of the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, was detained Saturday. North Korea on Wednesday announced the detention of an accounting instructor at the same university, Kim Sang Dok, for "acts of hostility aimed to overturn" the country. The KCNA didn't say whether the two cases are connected. Las Vegas Sun

Trump To Reveal Lower Federal Court Nominees
President Trump is expected to reveal 10 of his picks for lower federal courts on Monday — marking the first of many such announcements, a report says. A senior White House official told The New York Times that Trump would be announcing his conservative nominees on a regular basis, with the first round being made this week. There are currently more than 120 openings on the lower federal courts. According to the official, Trump will be nominating several judges from his previous list of potential Supreme Court justices. Justice Joan L. Karen, of Michigan, and Justice David R. Stars, of Minnesota, are expected to be nominated to a pair of federal circuit court positions. Other nominees will include Justice Scalia’s former law clerk, Amy Coney Barrett, to the Seventh Circuit in Chicago and Kevin C. Newsom, a lawyer from Alabama who served as the state’s solicitor general and law clerk to Justice David H. Souter, to the 11th Circuit in Atlanta. NY Post
VOA VIEW: They are needed.

China Lawyer's Family Says US Helped Them Flee
Stuck in a Bangkok jail with a deportation order against her, Chen Guiqiu waited with dread over what seemed certain to come next. A Thai immigration official showed her surveillance video of the jail entrance, where more than a dozen Chinese security agents were waiting. Within minutes, Chen feared, she and her two daughters would be escorted back to China, where her husband, prominent rights lawyer Xie Yang, was held on a charge of inciting subversion - and where punishment for attempting to flee surely awaited her. After weeks on the run, Chen was exhausted, and so was her luck. A Christian, she prayed: "Don't desert us now, not like this." Help arrived, from America. Philadlephia Inquirer

Syrian FM Describes Kurdish Role As 'Legitimate'
Syria's foreign minister is describing the role of U.S.-backed Syrian Kurds fighting the Islamic State group in Syria as "legitimate." The comment at a news conference in Damascus on Monday is one of the strongest signs of support yet for Syria's Kurds and a stab at Turkey, which deems Syrian Kurdish militias as "terrorists." A Kurdish-led Syrian force known as the Syrian Democratic Force has been the most effective fighting IS in Syria. The SDF is often criticized by other Syrian rebel factions of being too close to the Syrian government. Al-Moallem, using the Arabic acronym for IS, says: "I think that what the Syrian Kurds are doing in fighting Daesh is legitimate in the framework of their keenness on preserving the unity and integrity of Syrian territories." Tampa Tribune

Eric Trump Denies Report That Russia Funded Dad’s Golf Courses
Eric Trump on Sunday condemned a report that claimed his father got funding for his golf courses from the Russians. “It’s a recollection from some guy three years ago through a third person,” the president’s son told The Post, in reference to an interview that golf writer James Dodson gave to the Boston public radio station, WBUR-FM, about the alleged backing from Moscow. Excerpts from the sit-down, which aired Friday, were featured in a story on the station’s website. “We own our courses free and clear,” Eric said, insisting that the report was “categorically untrue” and “complete garbage.” NY Post
VOA VIEW: Fake news.

Afghan Air Force Pounds Area After Death Of IS Commander
The Afghan government says the country's air force has pounded Islamic State targets in an eastern province where a U.S. military raid last month killed the militant group's top commander. The Interior Ministry said Monday that the airstrikes killed 34 IS fighters over the past 24 hours and destroyed an insurgent-controlled radio station in Nangarhar province. The casualty toll could not be independently confirmed as the area is off-limits to reporters. The ministry says the strikes targeted IS hideouts in Nazyan and Achin districts. It says the radio station had been illegally broadcasting IS messages across the eastern province and was therefore a threat to the people and the government. Philadelphia Inquirer

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ISRAEL'S BENNETT PRESENTS ALTERNATIVE TO TWO-STATE SOLUTION
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud ally Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “antisemitic” in an address at The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York on Sunday. Steinitz said Trump’s upcoming visit to Jerusalem is a golden opportunity to strengthen the alliance of Israel and the US. But he warned Trump against relying on Abbas. Jerusalem Post

JEWISH TRUMP CONFIDANT: US PRESIDENT HAS CONVINCED ABBAS TO MAKE CONCESSIONS
US President Donald Trump has succeeded in persuading Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas to make the kind of concessions that will enable the diplomatic process to move forward, World Jewish Congress President Ron Lauder told Israeli politicians at The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York. Lauder is the Jewish leader closest to Trump: their families have been friends for decades; he has free access to the president; and he has advised him on how to advance diplomatic initiatives in the Middle East. He also has built up ties with Arab leaders for decades and was Netanyahu’s unofficial envoy to Syria in the latter’s first term as prime minister. Jerusalem Post

Afghanistan: IS Head Killed In Raid - President Ghani
The head of so-called Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan, Abdul Hasib, has been killed, President Ashraf Ghani's office has said. It said he died 10 days ago in an operation led by Afghan special forces in the eastern Nangarhar province. Hasib is believed to have been behind March's attack on a military hospital in Kabul, killing more than 30 people. Last month, the Pentagon said Hasib had probably been killed in a raid by US and Afghan special forces. BBC

Germany Searches All Army Barracks For Nazi Material
The defence ministry said the command came from the inspector general of the Bundeswehr (Germany's armed forces). All barracks will be searched for material linked to the Wehrmacht, the army which served Adolf Hitler. The move follows a growing scandal over far-right extremism within the army, with an officer accused of plotting an attack disguised as a Syrian refugee. The army lieutenant, who had expressed far-right views, was arrested in late April. Prosecutors in Frankfurt said the 28-year-old suspect had a "xenophobic background". BBC

Obama Biography Stirs Controversy With Tales Of Politics, Sex And A Rising Star
An American president’s ex-girlfriend who claims she was written out of history. A scathing review from the New York Times. And a literary feud with a rival biographer. The Making of Barack Obama, by the Pulitzer prize winner David J Garrow, is no ordinary addition to the annals of political biography. It took nine years to produce and runs to a doorstopping 1,461 pages. Its unusually candid disclosures about Obama’s sex life and drug use have generated clickbait headlines. In particular, it contains extensive interviews with Sheila Miyoshi Jager, a former girlfriend who claims Obama twice proposed marriage. But Garrow’s reliance on Jager as a source has been attacked by the influential New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani, as has his own critical portrayal of rival Obama biographies. On Friday, one of those biographers, David Maraniss, weighed in with a tweet: “Willl [sic] say this once only. David Garrow, author of new Obama bio, was vile, undercutting, ignoble competitor unlike any I’ve encountered.” Guardian

Eric Trump Said Family Golf Courses Attracted Russian Funding
Eric Trump said three years ago the Trump Organization had “all the funding we need out of Russia” for its golf course projects, according to an author recounting the story of a 2014 meeting with Donald Trump and his son. The author also said Donald Trump “sort of tossed off that he had access to $100m”. The comments prompted widespread interest in the media and online. Two congressional committees and the FBI are investigating alleged ties between Trump campaign aides and Russian agents during the 2016 presidential election. US intelligence agencies believe Russia sought to influence that vote in Trump’s favour, in part by hacking emails belonging to the Democratic National Comittee (DNC). Guardian

Donald Trump Looking Forward To Working With Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron surged to victory against Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election on Sunday. Ms Le Pen had vowed to ditch the euro and hold a referendum on France's EU membership, while Mr Macron wants closer cooperation between the bloc's 28 nations. The election had huge repurcussions for France, the EU, Britain and the wider world. Here is how world leaders reacted to the result: The US president was quick to congratluate Mr Macron and said he looked forward to working with him.  Mr Trump had previously expressed support for Ms Le Pen because she was “strongest on borders, and she’s the strongest on what’s been going on in France”. Telegraph

Merkel Comeback Continues As She Wins Big In Regional Elections Copy
Angela Merkel won a convincing victory on Sunday in German regional elections seen as a bellwether four months ahead of national elections. The chancellor’s Christian Democrat party (CDU) looked set to seize control of the state parliament Schleswig-Holstein after winning 33 per cent of the vote, according to initial exit polls. The dramatic gains mean Mrs Merkel will now be seen as favourite to win a historic fourth term in September’s elections. Telegraph

Nigeria: UNICEF Welcomes Release Of 80 Chibok Schoolgirls Abducted By Boko Haram
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) today welcomed yesterday's release of more than 80 of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents over three years ago. “It is heartening to know that the girls will be returning to their families who have been waiting for this day. They will face a long and difficult process to rebuild their lives after the indescribable horror and trauma they have suffered at the hands of Boko Haram,” said UNICEF Nigeria Acting Representative Pernille Ironside in a statement. She said UNICEF is on standby to support the Nigerian authorities to provide the comprehensive psychosocial support, help reunite the girls with their families and make sure they can continue their education in a safe environment. UN News

South Sudan: UN Peacekeepers Deployed To Enable Aid Delivery To Upper Nile's Aburoc Area
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has urgently deployed peacekeeping troops to Aburoc in the Upper Nile region to help enable the delivery of much needed humanitarian assistance to the 50,000 people displaced from home, the Mission said today. “The aim is to provide humanitarian groups with the confidence they need to resume the provision of urgent assistance to tens of thousands of people in Aburoc who are fleeing the ongoing violence,” said the Head of UNMISS, David Shearer, in a press release. UN News

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