NEWS   WEDNESDAY, MAY  10, 2017   NEWS

Trump Fires FBI Director James Comey
President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey Tuesday, the White House said, moving to oust the man leaving an investigation into his campaign operatives’ ties to Russia. “The president has accepted the recommendation of the attorney general and the deputy attorney general regarding the dismissal of the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters. In a statement Mr. Spicer said the search for a replacement will begin immediately. Mr. Comey became a major figure in last year’s election, first pursuing an investigation into Mr. Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, then clearing her of criminal wrongdoing over the summer. He inserted himself into the final weeks by reopening — then quickly clearing — the investigation again. More recently, he confirmed the FBI is investigating Trump campaign associates for possible illegal links to Russia. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: It's about time.

North Korea Insults: Pyongyang's Putdowns Target Obama, Clinton, Kerry
In another life, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s propaganda chief could have had a heck of a career as an insult comic. The latest screed from Pyongyang’s unnamed prince of prose (or princes -- it's unclear how many write these gems) was delivered Monday in response to Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., asserting Kim Jong Un was a “whack job.” Like previous statements, it bucked all norms for engaging in international repartee: “It is a serious provocation that Gardner, like a psychopath, dare to bear the evil that dares our highest dignity,” the statement said, according to a translation. “It is America’s misfortune that a man mixed in with human dirt like Gardner, who has lost basic judgment and body hair, could only spell misfortune for the United States.” Fox News
VOA VIEW: Jong Un is out of his mind.

Trump Adviser Vows To Release Video Of Hillary's Concession
A key member of President Trump's communication team says he has video of Hillary Clinton's concession call and is promising to release it in the near future. On Tuesday, Trump's social media director, Dan Scavino, tweeted a screenshot of a telephone call Clinton aide Huma Abedin made to Kellyanne Conway on election night to concede. The photo shows a two-minute call from Abedin at 2:30 a.m., with her telephone number blurred out. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Wild!

Comey's Claim To Congress About Clinton Aide's Emails Wasn't True
FBI Director James Comey erroneously told Congress last week that former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin "forwarded hundreds and thousands" of emails to her husband's laptop -- and the bureau is looking for a way to clean up his error, according to officials familiar with the matter. According to Comey, Clinton's emails had been forwarded to the computer of Abedin's husband, former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner. But US officials told CNN last fall the majority of the thousands of emails reviewed by the FBI got to Weiner's computer via a backup system for Abedin's phone. In Comey's testimony, however, he suggested "hundreds and thousands" of emails had been deliberately sent directly from Abedin to Weiner's computer. While some of those emails may have been sent directly from Huma in order to be printed, officials told CNN, the number was far fewer than the amount Comey described. CNN

Mexico Was Second Deadliest Country In 2016
It was the second deadliest conflict in the world last year, but it hardly registered in the international headlines. As Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan dominated the news agenda, Mexico's drug wars claimed 23,000 lives during 2016 -- second only to Syria, where 50,000 people died as a result of the civil war. "This is all the more surprising, considering that the conflict deaths [in Mexico] are nearly all attributable to small arms," said John Chipman, chief executive and director-general of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), which issued its annual survey of armed conflict on Tuesday. "The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan claimed 17,000 and 16,000 lives respectively in 2016, although in lethality they were surpassed by conflicts in Mexico and Central America, which have received much less attention from the media and the international community," said Anastasia Voronkova, the editor of the survey. CNN

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NSA Received Around 2,000 Requests To Unmask Americans’ Names In 2016
If a U.S. citizen is caught up in incidental intelligence collection, that person’s name cannot be revealed unless the intelligence agency that gathered the information agrees to a request to “unmask” that American person’s name. “How many of those requests did you get in 2016?” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked Admiral Michael Rogers at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday. Rogers heads both the National Security Agency and the U.S. Cyber Command. “I think we’ve publicly acknowledged something – it’s 2,000. I think it’s one thousand nine-hundred and something,” Rogers replied. CNS News
VOA VIEW: Someone may have violated the law.

White House: Presidential Nominations ‘Well On Pace’ With Previous Administrations
President Donald Trump on Monday announced his third wave of federal judicial appointments, and the White House defended the pace of presidential nominations, saying it’s “well on pace with where previous administrations have been.” Two of the nominees came from the list of potential Supreme Court nominees that President Trump released during the campaign. “The campaign list was put together from the Heritage Foundation, as well as the Federalist Society, and as the president said last September when it was released, these ‘highly respected people are the kind of scholars that we need to preserve the very core of our country and make it greater than ever before.’ The president followed the principles that were used to guide that list to select the additional eight individuals,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said. “These 10 individuals that the president has chosen were chosen for their deep knowledge of the law and their commitment to upholding constitutional principles,” he added. CNS News
VOA VIEW: The picks are good, but very political.

Massachusetts Judge Overturns Ex-NFL Star Hernandez's Murder Conviction
A Massachusetts judge on Tuesday overturned former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez's conviction for murdering an acquaintance in 2013, granting his attorneys' request since the athlete died before exhausting the appeal process. Prosecutors had argued Hernandez's prison suicide should have prevented the judge from overturning the conviction following his death, which is routinely allowed by Massachusetts state law when the conviction in question has not been fully appealed. Reuters

Intelligence Leaker Chelsea Manning Speaks Out Ahead Of Prison Release
A transgender soldier has issued her first statement since former President Barack Obama commuted her 35-year prison sentence for leaking intelligence, saying on Tuesday she wants to help others after her release from prison next week. Chelsea Manning, 29, has served nearly seven years in a military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, after being convicted of leaking more than 700,000 classified documents, videos, diplomatic cables and battlefield accounts to anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks in 2010, the biggest such breach in U.S. history. Reuters
VOA VIEW: Obama madness.

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Trump Weighs Sending As Many As 5,000 More Troops To Afghanistan
The Trump administration is weighing a drastic change when it comes to Afghanistan: Whether to send as many as 5,000 more troops in the fight, a military official told NBC News. Trump, however, is still deciding on a variety of options being presented to him by U.S. military leaders, senior administration officials told NBC News. The Washington Post first reported that the plan could involve an increase of at least 3,000 troops, with the U.S. asking other NATO nations to match. The U.S.'s force in Afghanistan currently totals about 8,400. MSNBC

Former President Obama Says He’s ‘Captive To Selfies’ Since Leaving Office
Former President Barack Obama gave his first speech abroad since leaving office and addressed the dangers of climate change — and joked about the lighter side of his post-presidential life. During a Q&A with former White House chef Sam Kass, Obama was asked what he doesn't miss about the White House. Obama said the list was long, but at the top of it was the isolation of being president. "You live in what's called 'the bubble,'" Obama said. "And it is a very nice prison. So you don't have the freedom of movement to just take a walk or to sit at a café." "Now I am only captive to selfies, which is almost as bad," he said. MSNBC
VOA VIEW: Obama misses being the center of attraction.

Senate Democrats To GOP: Yank Repeal Effort, And We’ll Talk Health Care
Senate Democrats on Tuesday renewed their offer to work with Republicans on health care so long as GOP leaders take repeal of Obamacare off the table — something that’s a primary goal for President Trump, who recently toasted the passage of a House replacement plan. The appeal from the entire Democratic caucus was dispatched hours after a Senate Republican accused them of being “passive” in the face of rising premiums and dwindling choices under the program established by then-President Barack Obama seven years ago. Democrats said real talks will begin once the GOP beats a retreat from its plan to use arcane budget rules to gut Obamacare on a party-line basis. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Dumb statement.

DUI Suspect In Hit-Run Crash That Left Boy, 6, Badly Hurt Was Deported 15 Times
A Mexican citizen who has been deported 15 times was arrested in a hit-and-run crash that left a boy, 6, badly hurt over the weekend. A drunken driving suspect in a hit-and-run crash that severely injured a 6-year-old boy in San Ysidro over the weekend has been deported from the U.S. at least 15 times, authorities said Tuesday. Constantino Banda-Acosta, 38, was last deported Jan. 18, with at least 14 prior cases since 2002, federal authorities said. San Diego Union

Kansas City Woman Says She Was Forced To Pee In A Cup On United Flight
In yet another horror story about the state of commercial aviation, a nurse from Kansas City says she was forced to pee into a cup in her seat because she was not allowed to use the plane’s lavatory. Nicole Harper posted her account early Saturday on Facebook after, she says, she became frustrated at her inability to get anyone at United Airlines to acknowledge her complaint. “United Airlines refuses to take my call, now I can’t sleep and just keep thinking about how wrong this is,” Harper wrote. Harper said her experience happened the same day that 69-year-old David Dao was injured while being forced off a United flight that was overbooked. That incident happened April 9. Harper said flight attendants would not allow her to get out of her seat and use the bathroom until the captain turned off the seat belt sign. Kansas City Star
VOA VIEW: A news fool.

Trump Administration Seeking Criminal History Of Haitians
Haitian President Jovenel Moïse will personally ask President Donald Trump not to end a humanitarian program that has protected tens of thousands of Haitians from deportation. “He hopes that it will be prolonged,” Wilson Laleau, Haiti’s former finance minister and Moïse’s chief of staff, told the Miami Herald on Tuesday. “He will officially ask that of the American government.” The public plea comes amid growing fears of a new deportation push as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security acknowledged compiling evidence on the crimes committed by Haitians enrolled in the Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, program. Miami Herald
VOA VIEW: Bad people must go.

Sale Of Trump Caribbean Property Revives Ethics Concerns
For sale: Luxury waterfront escape. Comes with two villas and five acres of paradise. And perhaps a bit of goodwill from the president of the United States? President Donald Trump's corporate trust is selling a multimillion-dollar Caribbean resort, presenting an enticing new way for a wealthy interest to get the president's attention and creating a fresh ethical dilemma for a first family dogged by the repeated collision of its corporate ties and public service. Just in the past few days, the Kushner Companies, the real estate company run by Trump's in-laws, apologized for advertising its connections to the White House during a pitch to Chinese investors. Ivanka Trump and other government employees are hawking her new book on social media — despite her assertion that she won't promote it. SF Gate

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Tunnel Collapse At Hanford Nuclear Site, Emergency Declared
An emergency was declared Tuesday at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeastern Washington after a portion of a tunnel that contains rail cars full of nuclear waste collapsed. The alert, which was later expanded to a site area emergency, was activated shortly before 8:30 a.m. at the Hanford Emergency Operations Center, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The accident occurred at the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Facility (PUREX), located in the middle of the sprawling Hanford site, which is half the size of Rhode Island. The closed PUREX plant was part of the nation's nuclear weapons production complex. CBS

Sean Spicer Defends White House Following Sally Yates' Testimony On Michael Flynn
Sean Spicer on Tuesday defended the White House, following remarks former acting Attorney General Sally Yates had made during a congressional hearing a day earlier about former National Security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn's conduct and the Trump administration's handling of the allegations about him. Spicer, the White House press secretary, said Yates had come to the White House on January 26. He said then she informed the White House counsel's office that there were materials relevant to the situation involving Flynn. CBS
VOA VIEW: Yates offered and said nothing.

Spirit Airlines Pilots Under Temporary Restraining Order Issued By Florida Judge
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida confirmed to ABC News that a temporary restraining order has been issued against the Spirit Airlines pilots' union to stop the work slowdown that has resulted in hundreds of flights being canceled. Chaos broke out Monday at a Spirit Airlines ticket counter at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida after nine flights were canceled according to ABC News affiliate WPLG. Desmond Waul, 22, Janice Waul, 24, and Devante Garrett, 22, were arrested Monday night in connection with the fight and face charges of inciting or encouraging a riot, disorderly conduct, resisting an officer, and trespassing after a warning, according to a Broward Sheriff's Office police report. ABC

J.D. Power: Despite Recent News, Airlines Are Doing Great At Customer Service
It hasn't been a good month for news about U.S. airlines. However, despite that persistent drumbeat of negative headlines, airline service is the best it's been in years.
At least that's according to J.D. Power, which found soaring passenger-satisfaction levels in its annual customer-service survey of North American airlines for 2017. “It’s impossible to think about airline customer satisfaction without replaying the recent images of a passenger being dragged from a seat, but our data shows that, as a whole, the airline industry has been making marked improvements in customer satisfaction across a variety of metrics, from ticket cost to flight crew,” Michael Taylor, travel practice lead at J.D. Power, said in a statement. “As recent events remind us, however, airlines have significant room for improvement.” USA Today
VOA VIEW: No question - a few passengers want to make big bucks.

Bill For I-85 Bridge Collapse Still Rising
The cost of the I-85 bridge collapse continues to rise as Georgia tallies indirect costs associated with the closure of one of the main highways into the heart of Atlanta.
Georgia transportation officials told state lawmakers Tuesday they will ask the federal government to pay millions of dollars more for an expansion of MARTA service and other expenses related to the March bridge collapse. Those expenses are in addition to the construction costs for the new bridge, which could be as much as $16.6 million. Atlanta Journal

Trump Calls NY Democrat 'Cryin' Chuck Schumer
Amid the clamor surrounding the firing of FBI Director James Comey, President Donald Trump singled out one another Washington fixture for his scorn. The president went to his Twitter account late Tuesday to chide Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a fellow New Yorker, for comments the Democrat made about the stunning dismissal. Trump had telephoned Schumer earlier to inform him of the decision. Schumer said he told Trump that "you are making a big mistake." Schumer also questioned why the firing occurred on Tuesday and wondered whether investigations into the Trump campaign's possible ties to Russia were "getting too close for the president." He said unless a special prosecutor is named, Americans could rightfully wonder whether the move was "part of a cover-up." Trump fired back with a tweet exclaiming: "Cryin' Chuck Schumer stated recently, 'I do not have confidence in him (James Comey) any longer.' Then acts so indignant." Houston Chronicle
VOA VIEW: Schumer is a big mouth liberal.

US Reps, Dalai Lama Take Aim At China Sore Spot Tibet
As President Donald Trump appears to be warming to China, a bipartisan group from the U.S. House of Representatives took aim Wednesday at one of Beijing's sore spots: Tibet. Rep. Nancy Pelosi accused China of using economic leverage to crush Tibetan calls for autonomy. During a meeting with Tibetans and the Dalai Lama at his main temple in the Indian hill town of Dharmsala, she urged the community not to give up. "You will not be silenced," said Pelosi, a California Democrat. "The brutal tactics of the Chinese government to erase race, culture and language of Tibetan people challenges the conscience of the world. We will meet that challenge." The visit by Pelosi and seven other U.S. representatives irritated Beijing, where a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry reiterated China's stance that the Dalai Lama is a dangerous separatist. Houston Chronicle

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Jimmy Carter On Bernie Sanders: 'Y'all See Why I Voted For him?'
Count Jimmy Carter among the Democrats with a political crush on Bernie Sanders. So much so that the former president suggests he voted for Sanders over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential primary. Carter and Sanders appeared together Monday at The Carter Center in Atlanta. At one point, the Vermont senator launched into a version of his populist campaign pitch. When Sanders finished railing against a growing American oligarchy, Carter smiled and said, "Y'all see why I voted for him?" ABC

Apple Becomes First U.S. Company To Top $800 Billion Value
Apple Inc. became the first U.S. company with a market value of more $800 billion as investors bet the next iPhone will spur a resurgence in sales. The stock rose 1 percent Tuesday to close at $153.99 in New York, giving it a market capitalization of about $803 billion. The shares have gained 33 percent since the start of the year, helped by a buyback program that Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook extended to total $210 billion last week, from $175 billion last year. Bloomberg

Seattle Mayor Abandons Re-Election Campaign After Sex Claims
Mayor Ed Murray on Tuesday dropped his re-election bid after four men claimed he sexually abused them when they were teenagers, allegations Murray vehemently denied as an anti-gay political conspiracy aimed at derailing his campaign. Murray for weeks pushed ahead for a second term despite the allegations but told reporters he decided it would be best for the city for him to abandon his campaign. He said he will serve out his term through the end of this year. "It tears me to pieces to step away but I believe it's in the best interest of this city that I love," said Murray, 62, flanked by his husband and tearful supporters. Philadelphia Inquirer
VOA VIEW: Dumb!

S. Korea's New President Willing To Visit Rival North
New South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Wednesday he was open to visiting rival North Korea under the right conditions to talk about Pyongyang's aggressive pursuit of nuclear-tipped missiles. Moon's softer stance on North Korea could create friction with Washington, which has swung from threats of military action to hints of dialogue as it seeks to formulate a policy under President Donald Trump. Moon, speaking during his oath of office as the first liberal leader in a decade, also said he'll "sincerely negotiate" with the United States, Seoul's top ally, and China, South Korea's top trading partner, over the contentious deployment of an advanced U.S. missile-defense system in southern South Korea. The system has angered Beijing, which says its powerful radars allow Washington to spy on its own military operations. Philadelphia Inquirer

Insurers Request Big Hikes For ObamaCare Premiums
Health insurance companies are requesting big hikes for their ObamaCare plans next year — and blame instability in the health insurance market for driving up premiums. In Connecticut, Maryland and Virginia, premiums for Affordable Care Act plans could rise more than 20 percent on average, Bloomberg News reported. In Connecticut, the requested rate hikes for individuals ranged from 8.4 percent to 52.1 percent. Maryland insurers asked for 9.1 percent to 150.8 percent for individuals, while in Virginia insurers filed for from 1 percent to 179 percent increases for individuals. The three are the first states to make their filings public. NY Post
VOA VIEW: Obamacare is dead.

Pope To Canonize 2 Fatima Children A Century After Visions
Three shepherd children in Portugal were jailed and threatened with being boiled alive in olive oil when they claimed the Virgin Mary appeared to them 100 years ago. The Catholic Church doubted their story too. From that unpromising start, the children's reported visions would go on to strengthen the faith of Portugal's persecuted Catholics and make the small farming town of Fatima one of the world's foremost pilgrimage sites, with around 6 million visitors a year. Now, the Portuguese youngsters' long-ago testimony is giving the Catholic Church its youngest saints who did not die as martyrs. Pope Francis plans to observe the centenary of their visions by canonizing Francisco and Jacinta Marto this weekend when he makes his first pilgrimage to Fatima. Tampa Tribune

JPMorgan Tells Banks To Partner Up As U.S. Deposit Drain Looms
JPMorgan Chase & Co. has some advice for regional banks: A deposit drain is coming, so merge while you can. The company’s investment bankers are warning depository clients that they may begin feeling the crunch in December, thanks to a byproduct of how the U.S. Federal Reserve propped up the economy after the financial crisis, according to a copy of a confidential presentation obtained by Bloomberg News and confirmed by a JPMorgan spokesman. JPMorgan argues that some midsize U.S. banks -- those with $50 billion in assets or less -- could face a funding problem in coming years as the Fed goes about shrinking its massive balance sheet, according to the 19-page report the New York-based bank has begun sharing with clients. Bloomberg

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Other Presidents Clash With FBI Directors, But Rarely Fire Them
Many presidents have grumbled about FBI directors. At times, they have loathed or feared them. Rarely, though, have presidents gone ahead and fired the federal law enforcement chief whose very position is designed for maximum distance from raw politics. The only other time it happened before President Donald Trump fired James Comey Tuesday was in 1993. The then-FBI director William Sessions was facing ethics complaints that led to his dismissal about halfway through what’s designed as a 10-year term. “It’s a very independent position, for a reason,” Nancy Savage, executive director of the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI, noted in an interview Tuesday. Charlotte Observer

Rubio Tests His Influence By Backing Colombia Peace Deal Before Trump
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio threw his support behind Colombia’s peace process Tuesday, giving the Colombian government a major political boost as it seeks to persuade President Donald Trump to continue U.S. backing of the controversial plan. In a speech, the Miami Republican remarked on the United State’s role in Colombia’s journey from a near failed state 15 years ago to a thriving success story that has is now one of the United States most important regional partners. “All of that is a result of U.S. engagement, not U.S. disengagement,” Rubio told Latin American leaders at the 47th Annual Washington Conference on the Americas, co-hosted by the U.S. State Department and the Council of the Americas. Charlotte Observer

US Watched Russia Hack French Systems During Election
The United States watched Russians hack France's computer networks during the election and tipped off French officials before it became public, a U.S. cyber official told the Senate on Tuesday. France's election campaign commission said Saturday that "a significant amount of data" — and some fake information — was leaked on social networks following a hacking attack on centrist Emmanuel Macron's successful presidential campaign. France's government cybersecurity agency is investigating what a government official described as a "very serious" breach. The leak came 36 hours before the nation voted Sunday in a crucial presidential runoff between Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. The election commission said the leaked data apparently came from Macron's "information systems and mail accounts from some of his campaign managers" — an attack that mimicked Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee in last year's U.S. presidential election. Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: Russia is a anti all reasonable and ethical enemy.

US Again Warns Against Travel To NKorea After New Detentions
The State Department is strongly warning U.S. citizens against traveling to North Korea after the reported recent detention of two Korean-Americans who had taught at a university there. Despite long-standing animosity between Washington and Pyongyang, and the lack of diplomatic relations, Americans are still free to travel there. The travel warning issued Tuesday updates long-standing advice that Americans "are at serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea's system of law enforcement." It says that North Korea threatens to treat American detainees in accordance with the nation's "wartime law." Las Vegas Sun

Most Americans Plan To Work Past Retirement Age
Almost 75 percent of American workers say they plan to work past retirement age, mostly in a part-time capacity, according to a Gallup survey. In the poll, 63 percent said they plan to work part time past the retirement age -- usually defined as 65 -- and an additional 11 percent of the respondents say they want to work full time. Twenty-five percent hope to stop working altogether. The findings are from Gallup's Economy and Personal Finance survey, conducted April 5-9, with 718 adults, age 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia who are not retired. UPI
VOA VIEW: True!

Antibiotics Unnecessarily Prescribed For Half Of All Seniors With Colds
Research shows nearly one in two seniors in Ontario, Canada, were prescribed antibiotics when they visited their doctor for common cold symptoms. A new study from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences Western in London, Ontario, and Lawson Health Research Institute has found that half of senior patients with non-bacterial infections such as the common cold, were prescribed unnecessary antibiotics by their primary physician. "Unnecessary antibiotic use, such as antibiotic use for viral infections, is a major public health concern associated with avoidable adverse drug events, increased health care costs, and the emergence of antibiotic-resistant infections," Dr. Marcus Povitz, respirologist at London Health Sciences Center, or LHSC and assistant professor in the Division of Respirology and Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Western University's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, said in a press release. UPI

Merkel's Challenger Open To Joint Eurozone Budget
Chancellor Angela Merkel's challenger in Germany's September election is giving a cautious welcome to French President-elect Emmanuel Macron's calls for a joint eurozone budget, but is suggesting it's unlikely to happen. Martin Schulz, the center-left Social Democrats' leader, was quoted Wednesday as telling weekly Die Zeit that "if the eurogroup states are to tackle joint tasks, then joint budget financing would make sense." But he added that "such a eurozone budget ultimately would not fail because of Germany or France, but because of opposition from those states that have other interests." Schulz said he's a realist and "we must start with what's possible without treaty changes." Tampa Tribune

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FOREIGN MINISTRY WORKERS THREATEN TO DISRUPT TRUMP VISIT
Workers at the Foreign Ministry threatened Tuesday to begin work sanctions on Thursday that could impair preparations for the May 22 visit of US President Donald Trump. The workers union sent a letter to its staff in Jerusalem and 102 Israeli embassies and consulates around the world, instructing them that if progress is not made on implementing their wage agreement, they should not take steps involved in preparing for the visit. Jerusalem Post

Syria War: US To Arm Kurds In Battle For Raqqa
US President Donald Trump has approved supplying weapons to Kurdish forces fighting so-called Islamic State (IS) in Syria, the Pentagon says. Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) would be equipped to help drive IS from its stronghold, Raqqa, a spokeswoman said. The US was "keenly aware" of Turkey's concerns about such a move, she added. Turkey views the Kurdish rebels as terrorists and wants to stop them taking more territory in Syria. The Pentagon later said US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis had spoken by phone to his Turkish counterpart, Fikri Isik, but gave no details of the conversation. Turkish officials have not yet responded publicly. BBC

Yemen War: Surge In Cholera Outbreak Kills 34 - WHO
The World Health Organisation says 2,022 suspected cases of cholera and acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) were reported between 27 April and 7 May. Some 26,000 people have now been affected since October by the outbreak, which subsided over the winter. The country's health system and civilian infrastructure are collapsing after two years of conflict. The WHO says fewer than 45% of health facilities are fully functioning, with almost 300 damaged or destroyed in fighting between forces loyal to President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi - who is backed by a Saudi-led multinational coalition - and those allied to the Houthi rebel movement. BBC

Common Painkillers May Raise Risk Of Heart Attack By 100%
Commonly prescribed painkillers including ibuprofen increase the likelihood of having a heart attack within the first month of taking them if consumed in high doses, a study suggests. All five nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) examined could raise the risk as early as the first week of use, an international team of researchers found. They concluded that there was a greater than 90% probability that all the NSAIDs they studied were associated with a heightened risk of heart attack. Guardian

Net Neutrality: Why The Next 10 Days Are So Important In The Fight For Fair Internet
Thursday 26 February 2015 was a good day for internet freedom campaigners. On that day the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to more strictly regulate internet service providers (ISPs) and to enshrine the principles of “net neutrality” as law. The vote reclassified wireless and fixed-line broadband service providers as Title II “common carriers”, a public utility-type designation that gives the FCC the ability to set rates, open up access to competitors and more closely regulate the industry. “The internet is the most powerful and pervasive platform on the planet,” said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler. “It’s simply too important to be left without rules and without a referee on the field.” Two years on and Trump’s new FCC chairman Ajit Pai, a former Verizon lawyer, has announced plans to overturn the 2015 order, in turn gutting net neutrality. A vote on this proposal is due to take place on 18 May. Here’s why it matters. Guardian

New York Times Offers 'Brexit Means Brexit' $6000 Guided Tour Of London
Americans have long viewed Britain's parliamentary debates and other unique, uncodified, constitutional traditions as a source of endless of fascination. Now, the New York Times is giving US tourists the opportunity to get close and personal with the country's latest political frontier: Brexit. America's oldest newspaper has launched a $5,995 (£4,650) per person guided "Brexit means Brexit" tour of London, designed to let participants  "examine the historic implications of a historic vote”. Telegraph

Life May Have Begun In 'Warm Little Pond' On Land, Not Sea...Just As Charles Darwin Theorised
Charles Darwin may have been correct when he theorised that life began in a ‘warm little pond’ on early Earth, new fossils suggest. Currently most scientists believe that the first lifeforms evolved in the warm thermal vents of ancient seas, before gradually colonising the land around 2.9 billion years ago. But scientists have found evidence that microbes were living in hot springs in Western Australia as early as 3.48 billion years ago. Telegraph

UN Relief Workers Concerned About Civilians In Mosul Threatened By Iraqi Forces, ISIL
As a new front opens in the fight between Iraqi forces and the group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) in north-western Mosul city, United Nations humanitarian staff are raising concern about hundreds of thousands of civilians still living in the area. Speaking to reporters in New York, the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General said that some 360,000 people are believed to be caught between the fighters. “Families continue to arrive at the newly established mustering point at Badoush, northeast of Mosul, along the Syrian highway, where emergency assistance and basic services are being provided by humanitarian partners,” Stéphane Dujarric said, citing information from UN humanitarian authorities. UN News

Mediterranean: Coast Guard On Alert After Shipwrecks As Smugglers Take Advantage Of Calm Waters
About 6,600 migrants and refugees were rescued in the past few days trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea, United Nations authorities have said, as rescuers are on the lookout for up to 245 people missing after two shipwrecks this weekend. “Rescue at sea operations, including by the Italian Coast Guard, in coordination with Frontex, and by [non-governmental organizations] are of crucial importance,” Cécile Pouilly, a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), today told journalists in Geneva. UN News

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