Tossed 'Stick Of Dynamite' Into The DOJ
White House: Comey's missteps led to erosion of confidence. The White House on Wednesday defended President Trump’s decision to fire James Comey, saying the former FBI director threw a “stick of dynamite” into the Department of Justice, and committed “atrocities” in his handling of the Clinton email saga. White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked at the daily press briefing why Trump had soured on Comey, despite recent statements by Press Secretary Sean Spicer that Trump had confidence in the FBI director. Sanders denied reports that Trump had put Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein up to recommending the firing, which caught Washington by surprise Tuesday evening. Instead, Sanders said, Rosenstein himself recommended the firing in a Monday meeting with Trump over Comey’s handling of the Clinton email scandal. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Look and listen to all the facts and statements than decide what is the truth.
Candidates Being Interviewed For Interim FBI Director
Several candidates already are being interviewed in the search for an interim replacement for fired FBI Director James Comey, senior Justice Department officials said Wednesday. Andrew McCabe, who was Comey’s deputy, was installed overnight in the post on an acting basis in the wake of President Trump’s stunning decision to remove Comey. But a search is underway for an interim director who can hold the post while the Senate considers Trump’s eventual nominee for the position. Fox
Slams Trump Plan To Arm Kurds
Turkey has lashed out at Washington's plan to send arms to Kurdish rebels fighting ISIS in Syria, calling for an end to the US strategy that has long rattled Ankara. The Pentagon announced Tuesday that President Donald Trump had authorized arming the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), green-lighting a US policy that had sat on the backburner for years to avoid confrontation with Turkey, a key NATO ally. It said that the provision of supplies and weapons was aimed at aiding the only group it sees fit enough to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa, the ISIS group's de facto capital, in the near future. CNN
VOA VIEW: CNN wants to start a confrontation between Trump and Turkey.
Ways To Investigate The Trump Campaign And Russia
President Donald Trump's stunning firing of FBI Director James Comey Tuesday triggered renewed demands from lawmakers, former government officials and watchdog groups for an "independent" investigation into possible ties between Trump campaign associates and Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. For months, some have argued for the appointment of a "special" counsel or prosecutor, while others want to form a congressional "select committee," and a third group suggests launching a new bipartisan commission. While none of these options are mutually exclusive, there are, however, significant differences in the purpose, scope and viability of these approaches. CNN
Are Puzzled By Deputy AG’s Central Role In The Drama Of Trump And Comey
To many who have followed the career of Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, the longtime prosecutor’s starring role in drama surrounding the ouster of FBI Director James B. Comey has left them surprised — and a little bit baffled. Rosenstein, who took office last month, has been spared much of the criticism being aimed at President Trump and his top lieutenants. But Rosenstein’s authorship of the memo that was used as a justification for Comey’s firing has prompted some to wonder whether the Justice Department’s No. 2 was fully committed to firing the FBI director — or whether he was drawn into a White House plan to thwart the FBI’s investigation of potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Some associates took to parsing the words of the memo, which did not directly call for Comey to be fired but said that the FBI “is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them.” Washington Post
VOA VIEW: Hypocrites!
Remain On Aaron Hernandez Wealth After Conviction Erased
Questions abound after a judge erased ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez’s murder conviction in a 2013 killing. Chief among them: What, if any, wealth did the former New England Patriots tight end leave behind when he hanged himself in prison on April 19? And could the team be back on the hook for nearly $6 million it withheld from Hernandez after he was charged in the killing and the team released him? There are no clear answers. Lawyer Doug Sheff, who represents the family of Odin Lloyd, the man Hernandez was convicted of killing, said he’s seeking copies of Hernandez’s contract with the Patriots and grievances he filed after the team withheld a $3.25 million deferred signing bonus payment and base salary of $2.46 million. Boston Globe
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On Increase In Georgia In 2017
Cases are up about 40 percent, an official said. Michael Jeffords is part of a painful but growing trend in Georgia this year — snakebite victims. Jeffords was at a friend’s lake house recently when a copperhead targeted his foot. That sent him to a hospital for three days. “I guess I got too close to the snake and he hit me,” Jeffords told Channel 2 Action News. “My buddy rushed me to the ER, they rushed me to the back, and they did what they had to do.” His foot measured about a foot in circumference after the swelling. Officials at the Georgia Poison Control Center in Atlanta told Channel 2 they have gotten about 40 percent more snakebite calls this year than in 2016. A mild and short winter is blamed. “We tell people the best antidote for a snakebite is a set of car keys,” Dr. Gaylord Lopez said. “Get to the nearest emergency room and get yourself evaluated and treated.” Atlanta Journal
Overpaid More Than 600 Employees Approximately $4.2 Million’
The Internal Revenue Service, which is responsible for collecting federal taxes and enforcing federal tax law, was unable to accurately deal with its own complex rules governing the payment of its own employees and ended up overpaying more than 600 IRS workers about $4,200,000, according to an audit report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. The IRS also underpaid more than 900 employees about $2,700,000, according to TIGTA's estimate. “The procedures for setting pay require the application of cumbersome and oftentimes confusing rules that vary depending on, among other things, the nature of the promotion, the salary history of the employee, and the management position the employee will be occupying,” the inspector general said in a report entitled, “Some Managerial Salaries Were Calculated Incorrectly Due to Complex Pay-Setting Rules.” CNS
VOA VIEW: An inept group.
Probe Making Trump ‘Very, Very Nervous
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Hillary Clinton’s former running mate, said although he’s criticized FBI Director James Comey, he never called for him to be fired.“Any FBI director has to have independence,” Kaine told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday.“This Russia investigation is making Donald Trump very, very nervous, as his letter showed. That’s, I believe, why he (Come was fired.”In his letter firing Comey, Trump wrote in part: “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.” CNS
VOA VIEW: Kaine is a liberal idiot.
Government Posts $182 Billion Surplus In April
The U.S. government had a $182 billion budget surplus in April, confounding market expectations for a deficit, according to Treasury Department data released on Wednesday. The budget surplus was $106 billion in April 2016, according to Treasury's monthly budget statement. The fiscal 2017 year-to-date deficit was $344 billion compared with $353 billion in the same period of fiscal 2016. When accounting for calendar adjustments, the surplus last month was $145 billion compared with an adjusted surplus of $146 billion the prior year. The adjusted deficit for the fiscal year to date was $373 billion compared with $314 billion the prior fiscal year period. Receipts last month totaled $456 billion, up 4 percent from April 2016, while outlays stood at $273 billion, a decrease of 18 percent from the same month a year earlier. Reuters
Chief Aimed To Expand Russia Probe Before Trump Fired Him:
FBI Director James Comey, days before President Donald Trump fired him, sought to expand his agency's probe into possible collusion between Trump's presidential campaign and Russia to sway the 2016 U.S. election, a congressional source said on Wednesday. With the Republican president facing a storm of criticism from many Democratic lawmakers and some in his own party, the Trump administration accused Comey of "atrocities" on the job and denied his firing was related to the FBI's Russia investigation. Trump, who met Russia's foreign minister at the White House on Wednesday, lashed out at critics, calling Democrats "phony hypocrites," and defended his decision to abruptly oust Comey on Tuesday from the law enforcement post he held since 2013. Reuters
VOA VIEW: Democrats B.S.
Japan, France, UK Practice Amphibious Landings On Guam
Troops from the U.S., Japan and two European nations are gathering on remote U.S. islands in the Pacific for drills they say will show support for the free passage of vessels in international waters amid fears China could restrict movement in the South China Sea. The drills around Guam and Tinian may also send a message to North Korea about the U.S. commitment to the region and the breadth of its allies. Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea spiked last month after Pyongyang launched a ballistic missile and the U.S. sent an aircraft carrier strike group to the region. The drills, which are led by France and include the United Kingdom, will practice amphibious landings, delivering forces by helicopter and urban patrols. Houston Chronicle
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Calls Out Dems, Posts Highlight Reel Of Comey Critics
President Trump went on the warpath Wednesday night — tweeting out a highlight reel of old news clips and public appeals made by politicians who urged James Comey to step down, but are now blasting him for firing the FBI Director. “The Democrats should be ashamed,” Trump tweeted, along with the 2 minute video. “This is a disgrace!” he said. “#DrainTheSwamp.” The clip features a who’s-who list of Comey critics — including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.); House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY); Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV); Sen. Chris Murphy (D., Conn.); Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Cali.); Rep. Jerry Nadler (D., N.Y.); and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). NY Post
Zealand Ratifies Pacific Trade Deal After US Withdrawal
New Zealand on Thursday became the second nation after Japan to ratify a Pacific trade deal that will need changes to proceed after the United States pulled out. Trade Minister Todd McClay said New Zealand is exploring alternatives for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and that ratifying the deal helps keep its options open. President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the 12-nation deal immediately after taking office in January after campaigning against it. Tampa Tribune
Of Confederate President Jefferson Davis Comes Down In New Orleans
Massive cranes and work trucks were put into position early Thursday morning as the city removed the monument to former Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
Masked crews were being used to protect the identity of those involved. A crew could be seen atop a crane, wrapping the statue in bubble wrap before it was torn down. Dozens of vocal opponents and proponents of Confederate-era monuments gathered amid a large police presence as the second of the four Confederate-era monuments was being prepared to be removed from its location. The Jefferson Davis Memorial, located at Jefferson Davis Parkway and Canal Street was removed about two and a half weeks after the monument to the Battle of Liberty Place was taken down. USA Today
VOA VIEW: Shameful!
CIA Prisoner Shrugs Off Risk To Testify At Guantanamo
A man who became the first CIA captive subjected to what the U.S. government called "enhanced interrogation techniques" after the Sept. 11 attacks is choosing to testify about conditions inside the Guantanamo Bay detention center even if it could create legal problems for him later. The lawyer for the Palestinian known as Zayne Abu Zubaydah says in a letter released Thursday that his client wants to testify at the U.S. base in Cuba next week despite the legal risk because he believes he is innocent, wants a chance to address the public and doesn't think he would ever be charged anyway. Tampa Tribune
GOP Rallies Around Trump, Against Special Prosecutor
Some grumbled, they made grave expressions of concern, and they called for answers. But, so far at least, Republican in the Senate have stopped short of calling for an independent investigation into Russian meddling in U.S. politics after President Donald Trump's abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey Tuesday. Democrats, who question whether Comey's termination was an attempt to quash the FBI's probe into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian agents, renewed their call for a special prosecutor or independent 9/11-style commission. But other than a handful of Republicans in the House, however, the GOP was largely united against the idea. MSNBC
VOA VIEW: A special prosecutor would be a waste of money going to someone who would not be accountable to the people.
Demand HHS Answers On Plans To Overturn Non-Discrimination Rule
A group of 21 senators demanded Wednesday that Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price provide answers about reported plans to overturn a non-discrimination rule in the Affordable Care Act. In a letter sent in response to a court filing last week strongly suggesting that HHS may overturn Rule 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. That rule prohibits discrimination in health care on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.
Last week, HHS said it would "reconsider" the need for non-discrimination protections in health care. The rule against discrimination was challenged in court by six states and a group of religiously affiliated health care companies, which opposed extending sex discrimination protections to transgender people and to women who may seek birth control or abortion. MSNBC
VOA VIEW: An MSNBC liberal push.
Foreign Minister Calls Allegations Of Election Hacking ‘Absurd’
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday that he didn’t discuss with President Trump the “absurd” allegations that Russia interfered in the U.S. election. We discussed specific issues, and we didn’t even raise those absurd issues,” Mr. Lavrov told reporters at the Russian Embassy in Washington after his White House meeting. He said he didn’t ask for assurances from Mr. Trump that the president discredits the accusations of Moscow’s interference. He said Mr. Trump has repeatedly dismissed the allegations already.“That is why there is no need for him to tell us anything or to give us assurance behind closed doors,” Mr. Lavrov said.
He called the allegations “fake information” and said it must be “humiliating” for Americans to be subjected to news that a foreign country could interfere with the U.S. election system. Washington Times
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Korea Travel Warnings Issued To Americans
The State Department issued reports this week warning Americans not to travel to North Korea, where the regime in Pyongyang is stepping up detentions and military provocations. An internal State Department security report says 16 Americans have been detained on trumped-up subversion charges in the past decade. The report also said North Korea is using military provocations to bolster the authority of supreme leader Kim Jong-un and perpetuate his rule. The report by the Overseas Security Advisory Council surveyed U.S. businesses in South Korea and found that 75 percent are most concerned that naval clashes or confrontations in the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas could trigger a war. Washington Times
Reacts To Comey Firing
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the firing of former FBI Director James Comey will have "no effect" on U.S.-Russia relations, reacting for the first time to President Trump's dramatic ouster of the man leading the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign. Putin spoke with CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer shortly before taking to the ice at a hockey game in Sochi. Palmer asked the Russian leader how Comey's firing would impact already frosty relations between the two nations. "There will be no effect," Putin said, with press aide Dmitry Peskov translating. "Your question looks very funny for me. Don't be angry with me. We have nothing to do with that. CBS
VOA VIEW: A none of your business issue.
Loses Omaha Mayor’s Race After Anti-Trump Theme, Abortion Message Flop
Run an anti-Trump Democratic candidate for mayor with the backing of Sen. Bernard Sanders in a city that swung for Hillary Clinton in 2016. But Democrat Heath Mello, 37, lost the Omaha mayor’s race Tuesday to Republican incumbent Jean Stothert after sending mixed messages on abortion — and after his efforts to rev up the rogressive base by aligning himself with Mr. Sanders appeared to backfire. “It ginned up their base on the left, but it inflamed ours,” said Dave Boomer, spokesman for Republican Mayor Jean Stothert. “You had Heath Mello saying he was pretty excited about Bernie Sanders coming,” Mr. Boomer said. “Well, there are a lot more conservatives in Omaha than socialists. And the guy is a socialist.” CBS
VOA VIEW: Republicans stand tall.
Couple Get Divorce After Politically Charged Battle
A judge has granted a divorce decree to a lesbian couple after a custody battle that was targeted by dozens of conservative Tennessee lawmakers who tried to intervene in the case. The same-sex divorce and custody case became a political flashpoint after a Knoxville judge initially ruled that one of the women had no parental rights to a child conceived by artificial insemination because she did not meet the legal definition of "husband." The judge changed his mind, granted the divorce and approved a plan for Sabrina and Erica Witt to split custody. The attorneys for the two women did not respond to calls seeking comment Wednesday. Houston Chronicle
VOA VIEW: A real problem.
Down-To-Earth Manner Generates Buzz Among Koreans
South Korean internet users have shared photos of new President Moon Jae-in waving off a presidential employee and taking off his own jacket at a luncheon, projecting an image that he's a down-to-earth president. Images of Moon, sans jacket and holding a cup of coffee while cheerfully talking with his aides at the presidential garden have also generated a buzz. Moon began his first full day in office by shaking hands and taking selfies with supporters near his private Seoul home before heading to the presidential Blue House. Many see Moon's manner as a refreshing break from his disgraced, jailed predecessor Park Geun-hye, who many saw as aloof and autocratic. Charlotte Observer
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Auto Sales Shrink In April As Demand Cools Sharply
China's auto sales shrank in April as demand for most types of vehicles wilted, an industry group said Thursday. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said 1.7 million passenger cars were sold in China last month, down 3.7 percent from the same period a year ago. That's down from 1.7 percent sales growth in March.
Total vehicle sales, including buses and trucks, fell 2.2 percent from a year earlier to 2.1 million. "Car production and sales fell significantly last month," the association said in a statement. "Automotive market demand was weak." Auto demand in China has been cooling since Beijing raised a sales tax on small-engine vehicles at the start of the year, putting off drivers from buying cars. Analysts forecast the market will grow by mid-single digits this year, down from 15 percent in 2016. For the year to date, auto sales have grown a tepid 2.5 percent to 7.7 million vehicles. Charlotte Observer
Found In More School Drinking Fountains
Ongoing tests of water at San Diego Unified School District has found another campus with elevated levels of lead in drinking fountains. District officials are notifying families of students at Birney Elementary School in University Heights that levels of lead were detected at three out of five campus water fountains, with one high enough to require action. Bottled water is being distributed at the school until the problem is fixed, and officials plan to hold a meeting with parents at the campus next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., said district spokesman Andrew Sharp. Lead in drinking water is known to be especially harmful to children and can be particularly damaging to the development of the brain and nervous system. According to the World Health Organization, there is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe. San Diego Union
Of Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks As Trump Vows To 'Get It Done'
Next week, Trump travels to Israel on his first overseas trip, where he is scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank. "It’s something that I think is, frankly, maybe not as difficult as people have thought over the years," Trump quipped during Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' visit to the White House last week. "Throughout my lifetime, I've always heard the toughest deal to make is the deal between Israelis and Palestinians," he said during a brief joint appearance with Abbas, "let's see if we can prove them wrong." ABC
VOA VIEW: There will be no deal - the trip is very dangerous for Trump.
Wall Street Is Saying About FBI Director Comey's Ouster
In the wake of President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, Wall Street is weighing whether the political fallout will kill any momentum the White House had for its economic agenda. The abrupt decision has investors raising questions about whether the president’s pro-growth, tax-cutting reforms will stall as the focus shifts to why Comey was dismissed amid probes into possible Russian ties to Trump’s campaign. Policy analyst Isaac Boltansky told Bloomberg in an email that while this won’t stop Trump’s agenda, it’s likely to slow it. “This as a standalone decision is unlikely to sink the president’s agenda, but it surely slows it as this now becomes the focus on Capitol Hill. Congressional Republicans still want tax reform and they will work toward that goal, but this decision distracts from legislating and further muddies the agenda. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: Liberals want a slow down.
Judge Rejects Appeal, Orders Kobach To Hand Over Documents From Trump Meeting
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has lost his appeal and has been ordered to turn over documents from his meeting with President Donald Trump to the ACLU by Friday. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson on Wednesday upheld an earlier order from a federal magistrate judge requiring Kobach to hand over the documents to the American Civil Liberties Union as part of an ongoing voting rights lawsuit against his office. Robinson, who is based in Kansas City, Kan., was appointed by President George W. Bush. Kansas City Star
Travel Is Still Hot For Americans, New Study Says
Despite some U.S. airlines’ decisions to scale back service to Cuba or abandon their Cuba routes, Americans’ interest in visiting the island is still strong and there’s plenty of potential for growth, according to a new travel study. An analysis by The Boston Consulting Group released Wednesday estimates that even with current U.S. travel restrictions in place, as many as 2 million U.S. travelers could visit the island annually by 2025. Last year, visits by Cuban Americans and other U.S. travelers totaled 614,433 — a 34 percent increase. Miami Herald
Booed Speaking At Historically Black University
Drawing shouts of "Liar!" and "Just go," Education Secretary Betsy DeVos powered through her commencement address Wednesday at a historically black university, even as many of the graduating students turned their backs to her in protest. "Let's choose to hear one another out," DeVos said, reading her prepared text in a measured tone despite continuing waves of boos, catcalls and scattered applause at Bethune-Cookman University in Florida. As the crowd kept trying to shout her down, university president Edison Jackson briefly took over the microphone to sternly lecture the class of 2017. "If this behavior continues, your degrees will be mailed to you. Choose which way you want to go," Jackson warned. DeVos alienated many African-Americans in February when she described historically black colleges as "real pioneers when it comes to school choice." After a storm of criticism, she acknowledged that these colleges were "born, not out of mere choice, but out of necessity, in the face of racism." SF Gate
VOA VIEW: The lefts view is clear.
Says U.S. Is Backing Terrorism By Arming Syrian Kurds
Turkey objected strongly to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to arm Kurdish forces in Syria, calling the plan unacceptable and amounting to support for terrorists. “This issue is a matter of existence or nonexistence for Turkey,” Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli told AHaber television on Wednesday. “It is a matter of survival for Turkey. Everyone should see it this way. We can never accept or allow the existence of terrorist organizations that pose a threat to Turkey’s future.” While the U.S. considers Syrian Kurdish forces as the most reliable ground force to fight Islamic State in Syria, Turkey -- a U.S. ally and NATO member -- says they are linked to the Kurdish PKK group that has battled for autonomy in southeast Turkey for more than three decades. Mounting tensions could complicate efforts to retake Islamic State’s self-declared capital of Raqqa. Bloomberg
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Intel Panel Subpoenas Flynn Documents
The Senate intelligence committee has subpoenaed former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn for documents related to the panel's investigation into Russia's election meddling.Sen. Richard Burr, the Republican chairman, and Sen. Mark Warner, the committee's Democratic vice chairman, say the panel had first requested the documents from Flynn on April 28. They say Flynn's lawyer declined to cooperate with the request.Flynn was fired by Trump after less than a month on the job. The White House said he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other top officials about his communications with Russia's ambassador to the United States.
Blocks Move To Overturn Obama-Era Rule On Drilling
In a surprising win for environmentalists and Democrats and a blow to the fossil-fuel industry, the Senate on Wednesday failed in a bid to reverse an Obama-era regulation restricting harmful methane emissions that escape from oil and gas wells on federal land.The vote was 51-49 in the Republican-led Senate with three GOP lawmakers — Maine's Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona — joining forces with the Democrats to block efforts to overturn the rule. Graham and Collins had publicly opposed the repeal effort, but McCain's vote surprised many on both sides of the debate. Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: McCain is a Democrat.
May Shut Down Bridge To North Korea
A Chinese diplomatic source who spoke to Radio Free Asia anonymously said the symbolic Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge that spans the Yalu River might be closed as part of sanctions."As China becomes more guarded in its North Korea policy, there is speculation the steel rail bridge will be temporarily shut down," the source said. A second Chinese diplomatic source said a review of the bridge closure is ongoing, following expanded financial and trade sanctions. "It is both a warning to North Korea against possible nuclear testing and a response that comes after North Korea mobilized its state media to denounce China," the source said. The bridge is one of the few visible symbols of China-North Korea exchange. Trucks and trains that cross the bridge account for about half of trade between the two countries, according to Yonhap. UPI
Legislature 1st In US To Vote To Legalize Marijuana
Vermont's Legislature on Wednesday became the first in the country to vote to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The legislation, which passed the House by a 79-66 vote, would allow adults to possess and use small amounts of the drug beginning next year. The bill was identical to one passed last week by the Senate that also sets up a commission to study the best way to regulate marijuana. The bill now heads to Republican Gov. Phil Scott, whose spokeswoman said he's not philosophically opposed to legalizing marijuana but must be sure the bill answers certain public safety and health questions. Philadelphia Inquirer
VOA VIEW: Hopefully whoever causes damage or harm while under the influence can pay.
Service, Citing Losses, Seeks Higher Stamp Prices
The U.S. Postal Service is hoping it can soon raise stamp prices by a penny or more. The postal service on Wednesday reported a quarterly loss of $562 million, despite growth in package delivery, due to continued erosion in the use of first-class mail as well as expensive mandates for its retiree health care obligations. It also attributed losses to a forced reduction in stamp prices last year. The postal service is generally barred under federal law from raising prices more than the rate of inflation. But it is seeking greater regulatory leeway to increase prices, including a one-cent rate hike provided in a measure being considered by Congress. The current cost of a first-class stamp is 49 cents. Philadelphia Inquirer
Sends Farewell Letter To FBI Colleagues
Former FBI Director James Comey says in a farewell letter that he does not plan to dwell on the decision to fire him or the “way it was executed.” He says in the letter that although he’ll be fine, he will miss the FBI and its mission “deeply.” The letter circulated among Comey friends and colleagues. It was posted online by CNN Wednesday night and a person who had seen the note confirmed the online version was authentic. Comey also says that “in times of turbulence, the American people should see the FBI as a rock of competence, honesty, and independence.” He says that “it’s very hard to leave a group of people who are committed only to doing the right thing.” NY Post
Has Unscheduled Meeting With Kissinger
President Donald Trump met Wednesday with Henry Kissinger in a meeting not listed on the president's schedule. The press pool was invited to the Oval Office at 11:20 a.m. for "what some had assumed would be a spray of President Trump's meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov," according to the pool report.
Instead they saw the president sitting with the 93-year-old Kissinger, national security adviser under former President Richard Nixon and later secretary of state for Nixon and Gerald Ford. UPI
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IS 5,000 CHINESE FIGHTERS DOING IN SYRIA
Beijing is worried about Uighurs, a mostly Muslim people who speak a Turkic language, fighting alongside ISIS in the war-torn Levant. Up to 5,000 ethnic Uighurs from China's violence-prone far western region of Xinjiang are fighting in various militant groups in Syria, the Syrian ambassador to China Imad Moustapha said on Monday, adding that Beijing should be extremely concerned about it. China is worried that Uighurs, a mostly Muslim people who speak a Turkic language, have gone to Syria and Iraq to fight for militants there, having travelled illegally via Southeast Asia and Turkey. Jerusalem Post
CLAIMS TO BEHEAD RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE OFFICER IN SYRIA
Islamic State has issued a video showing the beheading of what it described as a Russian intelligence officer captured in Syria, the US-based SITE monitoring website reported on Tuesday. The Russian Defense Ministry and the FSB security service were not immediately available for comment.The 12-minute Russian-language video, released on the day Russia celebrates the anniversary of the 1945 victory over Nazi Germany with military parades, showed the man dressed in a black jump suit kneeling in a desert scene and urging other Russian agents to surrender."This idiot believed the promises of his state not to abandon him if he was captured," he said before a bearded man beheaded him with a knife. Jerusalem Post
DENIES REPORTS OF TRUMP DECISION AGAINST US EMBASSY MOVE
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Office denied on Wednesday reports that it had received notice that US President Donald Trump has decided not to move the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. "Israel's position is that all embassies, particularly the US embassy, should be in Israel's capital - Jerusalem," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement. Jerusalem Post
VOA VIEW: Time will tell.
Heyman: US Reporter Arrested For Shouting Questions On Healthcare
A reporter was arrested on Tuesday night at the West Virginia Capitol for allegedly causing a disturbance by shouting questions to two Trump aides. Dan Heyman had asked Health Secretary Tom Price and White House adviser Kellyanne Conway about coverage under the Republican healthcare plan. The veteran health reporter wanted to know if domestic violence would be covered as a pre-existing condition. He later said he "was trying to do my job". He nows faces a prison sentence. Mr Heyman, who works for the Public News Service, spoke to reporters after being released by police. BBC
Life Expectancy 'Near Normal' Thanks To New Drugs
Young people on the latest HIV drugs now have near-normal life expectancy because of improvements in treatments, a study in The Lancet suggests. Twenty-year-olds who started antiretroviral therapy in 2010 are projected to live 10 years longer than those first using it in 1996, it found. Doctors say that starting treatment early is crucial to achieve a long and healthy life. Charities say there are still too many people unaware they have the virus. BBC
Sanders Takes Aim At Trump On Climate Ahead Of March In DC
The Republicans who care about climate change: 'They are done with the denial'“As you all know,” the Vermont senator and former presidential candidate told the crowd, “Donald Trump is wrong about a lot of things. But there is no area where he is more wrong than on the issue of climate change.”Sanders added: “No, Mr President, climate change is not a hoax. Climate change is real.”At the event, held just outside the US Capitol, Sanders, Merkley and Markey unveiled legislation which seeks to completely phase out the use of fossil fuels through a transition to 100% clean and renewable energy by the middle of this century. But the bill, called the 100 by ’50 Act, is unlikely to be considered by a Republican-controlled Congress, where many GOP lawmakers are still unwilling to acknowledge the science behind global warming and contribution of human activity. Guardian
Committee Subpoenas Michael Flynn In Trump-Russia Investigation
The Senate intelligence committee on Wednesday issued a subpoena for former national security adviser Michael Flynn as part of the investigation into the Trump camp’s ties to Russia. The Senate panel said the subpoena was for documents relevant to its inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, which Flynn declined to provide when the committee first requested them last month. Senators Richard Burr and Mark Warner, the top Republican and Democrat on the intelligence committee, made the announcement less than 24 hours after federal prosecutors issued grand jury subpoenas to associates of Flynn as part of a separate but parallel investigation into Russian meddling in the November election. Guardian
Reporter Arrested For Asking The Health Secretary A Question
A West Virginia journalist was arrested and jailed after following Tom Price, the US health and human services secretary, down a hallway in the state's capitol building and peppering him with questions about healthcare policy. Journalist Dan Heyman was grabbed by security and handcuffed after repeatedly calling out a question to Mr Price as the health secretary visited the Charleston legislature with White House advisor Kellyanne Conway on Tuesday, said Heyman at a press conference after the incident. "I'm not sure why, but at some point I think they decided I was just too persistent in asking this question and trying to do my job, so they arrested me," said Heyman, who works for Public News Service, a nonprofit news operation. Telegraph
Firing FBI Director Comey Won’t Slow Down the Russia Investigation
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP has fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, smack in the middle of the FBI’s ongoing investigation into potential ties between the Trump administration and Russia. But while whomever Trump appoints to take Comey’s place could shut down the Russia probe eventually, Comey’s removal won’t make it skip a beat. According to press secretary Sean Spicer, the decision to terminate Comey had nothing to do with the investigation into the Trump campaign’s Russia ties but rather Comey’s handling—including controversial public statements—of the Clinton email case. In a statement, Trump said that he relied on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ guidance that “a fresh start is needed” to restore confidence in the FBI. In a letter to the president, Sessions wrote, “It is essential that this Department of Justice clearly reaffirm its commitment to longstanding principles that ensure the integrity and fairness of federal investigations. Wired
Condemns Deadly Attack On Peacekeepers In Central African Republic
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has strongly condemned an attack against a convoy of the UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (CAR) that left four dead, one missing and 10 others evacuated.“Attacks against United Nations peacekeepers may constitute a war crime,” Mr. Guterres said through his spokesperson yesterday on the attack perpetrated by suspected anti-Balaka elements against a convoy of the UN Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSCA) on 8 May. He called on the CAR authorities to investigate the attack – executed on the Rafai-Bangassou axis, in the country's south east – in order to swiftly bring those responsible to justice. UN News
Message Of Compassion 'Timeless' Says UN Chief On International Day
Observing the Day of Vesak, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called on the global community to draw inspiration from the journey of Lord Buddha and embrace his message of compassion. “Born a sheltered prince, Shakyamuni went out into the world to confront and overcome human suffering,” said the Secretary-General in his message on the occasion. “This message of compassion is timeless,” he said. Vesak, the Day of the Full Moon in the month of May, is the most sacred day to millions of Buddhists around the world. UN News
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