NEWS   SATURDAY, MAY  13, 2017   NEWS

Does Donald Trump Want To Be President?
President Trump’s eccentric behavior, especially in the past week, raises a serious question: Does he want to be president? His Twitter threat against James Comey, whom he fired as director of the FBI, suggests he might have secretly recorded their conversations. Banning American news media from his Oval Office conversation with Russia’s foreign minister while allowing a TASS photographer to record the event may be payback against a press corps he despises. But it also fuels suspicions that he is indebted, somehow, to the Kremlin. Recently, he retweeted Rosie O’Donnell, surely a first for a sitting president. His undisciplined tweets give the public contradictory information, and a sense that he wants to run the country via social media instead of democratic debate. Fox News
VOA VIEW:  The truth is that Trump is both wise and dumb at times.

Is Sarah Huckabee Sanders 'Auditioning' For Bigger White House Role?
Sarah Huckabee Sanders picked one heck of a week to fill in for Press Secretary Sean Spicer at the White House podium -- but it could be part of a trial by fire. Speculation is mounting that the deputy press secretary is being eyed for a bigger role, amid a tumultuous week where she became the face of the administration's response to President Trump's decision to fire FBI boss James Comey. Sanders took plenty of hits from the press, especially when the president seemed Thursday to contradict the original White House narrative that he was merely acting on the recommendation of a top Justice official. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Do we know the real truth.

Massive Ransomware Attack Hits 99 Countries
Tens of thousands of ransomware attacks are targeting organizations around the world on Friday. Cybersecurity firm Avast said it has tracked more than 75,000 attacks in 99 countries. It said the majority of the attacks targeted Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan. What is it? The ransomware locks down all the files on an infected computer and asks the computer's administrator to pay in order to regain control of them. The ransomware, called "WannaCry," is spread by taking advantage of a Windows vulnerability that Microsoft released a security patch for in March. But computers and networks that haven't updated their systems are at risk. The exploit was leaked last month as part of a trove of NSA spy tools. CNN
VOA VIEW: A serious problem.

Michelle Obama Criticizes Trump Administration's School Lunch Policy
Former first lady Michelle Obama expressed concern Friday over the Trump administration's decision to scale back school meal nutritional requirements. "You have to stop and think, 'Why don't you want our kids to have good food at school? What is wrong with you, and why is that a partisan issue?" Obama said at the annual summit of the Partnership for a Healthier America, a nonprofit that works with the private and public sectors to fight childhood obesity. "Why would that be political?" Obama's comments come a little over a week after Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue signed a proclamation that relaxes standards for the upcoming school year in three key areas: whole grains, salt and milk. CNN
VOA VIEW: CNN lost their liberal mouth piece - Michelle.

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Trump: "Comey Better Hope There Are No 'Tapes' Of Our Conversations"
President Donald Trump issued another incendiary tweet Friday morning that seems to warn former FBI Director James Comey not to deny Trump's version of their various conversations. "James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!" Trump said. According to Trump, Comey told him three times -- once at dinner and twice on the phone -- that Trump was not under investigation. Trump told NBC's Lester Holt he thinks Comey requested the dinner. "And at that time, he told me, you are not under investigation -- which I knew anyway." The New York Times reported on Thursday that Trump "summoned" Comey to dinner at the White House and asked Comey to "pledge his loyalty to him." According to the newspaper, Comey declined, but told Trump that he would always be "honest with him." CNS News
VOA VIEW: Two people know the truth.

Oklahoma House Declares Abortion 'Murder'
The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a resolution on May 8 declaring abortion to be murder and directing "every public official" in the state to use their authority "to stop the murder of innocent children by abortion." The resolution does not have the force of law but it does reflect the policy view of the Oklahoma House, which has 101 members -- 74 Republicans, 26 Democrats, and 1 vacancy. The resolution, HR 1004, passed by voice vote, and was introduced by Rep. Chuck Strohm, R-Jenks. The resolution, in part, states that "all human life is protected by God's law and the highest laws of the land," and that the Declaration of Independence explains that "all human beings" are "endowed by their Creator with the unalienable right to life." Further, "the Constitution of the United States mandates that no state shall deprive any human being of life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness without due process of law, nor deny any human being within its jurisdiction the equal rotection of the laws." CSN News

Historically Black University In Texas Cancels Senator's Speech
U.S. Senator John Cornyn will no longer deliver the commencement address at Texas Southern University this weekend, the school said on Friday, after U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was booed at another historically black university. More than 800 people signed a petition started by a Texas Southern University student who opposed the university's invitation to the Republican senator to speak at Saturday's graduation in Houston. The petition said Cornyn's backing of DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, among other things, showed that he supported "discriminatory policies and politicians." Reuters
VOA VIEW: No public money should go to the black university.

U.S. Justice Department Orders Tougher Criminal Punishments
The Trump administration called for tougher charges and longer prison time for criminals in a move to return to strict enforcement of federal sentencing rules, according to a memo the U.S. Department of Justice released on Friday. In a two-page note to federal prosecutors, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed course from the previous Obama administration and told the nation's 94 U.S. attorneys to "charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense." The move is in line with tough campaign rhetoric against criminals by U.S. President Donald Trump, a Republican who had also pledged to support police and law enforcement. Reuters

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Cyberattack Hits Nearly 100 Countries And Thousands Of Computers
A large-scale cyberattack affected nearly one hundred countries and held tens of thousands of computers ransom throughout the day on Friday. Antivirus provider Avast reported that at least 75,000 computers had been infected by the crippling malware and that the "WanaCrypt0r 2.0," as it is called, ransomware had been detected in 99 countries. More than a dozen hospitals in England and major companies, including FedEx and Spain's largest telecom, were targeted Friday. MSNBC

President Trump Tells Lester Holt He’s ‘Fighting Hard’ For Legitimacy In ‘Divided Country’
After unrelenting questions about alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, President Donald Trump said in an exclusive interview with NBC News' Lester Holt that "we're fighting hard" when asked about his credibility being called into question. "Do you feel like you're fighting for your legitimacy sometimes?" Holt asked during a 31-minute interview Thursday at the White House, a segment of which aired Friday on TODAY. "we're fighting hard" when asked about his credibility being called into question. "Do you feel like you're fighting for your legitimacy sometimes?" Holt asked during a 31-minute interview Thursday at the White House, a segment of which aired Friday on TODAY. "Well, we're fighting hard," Trump said. "That your legitimacy is under attack?" Holt asked. "Well, we're fighting hard," Trump said."That your legitimacy is under attack?" Holt asked. "Well, we have a very divided country," Trump added. "I mean, the Republicans are very, very much behind me. They love what we're doing on health care. Obamacare is dead. It's a disaster." MSNBC
VOA VIEW: Trump should not give the liberal media exclusive interviews.

Eric Holder: AG Jeff Sessions’ Policy Is ‘Dumb On Crime’
Former Attorney General Eric Holder slammed the current leader of the Justice Department’s decision to roll back policies he had implemented as part of a broader effort to reform the criminal justice system. Calling Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ new sentencing and charging memo “unwise” and “ill-informed,” Mr. Holder said the change in policy “is not tough on crime. It is dumb on crime.” In a statement on the new policy, announced Friday, Mr. Holder said the decision “ignores a rare bipartisan political consensus that has formed around sentencing reform effort and will take this nation back to a discredited past.” Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Holder is a loser who has not right to claim something is dumb.

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Sean Spicer Doesn't Cmment On Whether Trump Recorded Comey Conversations
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer refused to answer questions Friday about whether there are recording devices in the White House or if the president recorded a conversation with fired FBI Director James Comey, after the president tweeted that Comey had "better hope that there are no 'tapes'" of conversations between the two of them. "The president has nothing further to add on that," Spicer said multiple times in his first briefing since Comey's firing, refusing to say any more beyond characterizing the tweet as "not a threat." Comey was in charge of the FBI investigation into Russian election meddling until he was abruptly fired Tuesday. Since then, questions continue to mount about the timing and the reasoning behind Mr. Trump's decision to fire Comey. CBC

Bin Laden’s Son Wants To Avenge His Father, Ex-FBI Agent Says
Personal letters seized in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden reveal the al Qaeda leader's son to be a young man who adores his father and wants to carry on his murderous ideology. That son today is poised to lead a stronger, larger al Qaeda and is bent on avenging his dad's death, says an ex-FBI agent familiar with those documents. Holly Williams interviews Ali Soufan, the former FBI agent who was the bureau's lead investigator of al Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks, on the next edition of 60 Minutes Sunday, May 14 at 7 p.m. ET/PT. Soufan describes a letter from the son, Hamza, that was collected in the raid and now declassified.  "He tells him that…he remembers 'every look…every smile you gave me, every word you told me.'" Hamza would be about 28 now and wrote the letter when he was 22 and had not seen his father in several years.  Hamza also wrote this: "I consider myself to be forged in steel. The path of jihad for the sake of God is what we live." CBS
VOA VIEW: Bin Laden son must be captured and properly dealt with.

James Comey Will Not Testify Next Week But Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein To Brief Senate On Firing
Ousted FBI Director James Comey will not testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday about the circumstances of his firing, as top members of the panel had invited him to do. "He won't be testifying on Tuesday but it is our hope in the not too distant future that we can find time for him to come," Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the committee's top Democrat, said in an interview today on MSNBC. Comey will "share his side of the story" at the appropriate place and time, Warner said, adding that he hopes it is before the Intelligence Committee, which he and Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., lead. Meanwhile, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will brief the full U.S. Senate next week on Comey's firing, according to a spokesman for Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. ABC

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Pentagon Brass Improperly Interfered In Navy SEAL’s Sexual-Assault Case
A retired admiral is accusing the highest levels of the Navy legal corps at the Pentagon of improperly interfering in the case of a decorated Navy SEAL convicted of sexual assault. Retired Rear Adm. Patrick J. Lorge in a May 5 signed affidavit charges that the then-judge advocate general of the Navy and her deputy tried to convince him not to exonerate the sailor because it would be bad PR for the Navy and hurt Mr. Lorge’s career. The extraordinary charges from Mr. Lorge go to the very top of the Navy legal system and throw into question whether a sailor can get a fair trial in the politically charged atmosphere of military sex assault cases. Washington Times

More Americans Disapprove Of Comey's Firing Than Approve
More Americans disapprove of President Trump’s firing former FBI Director James Comey than approve of the decision, according to a new Gallup poll released today. Four in 10 Americans (39 percent) say they approve of Comey’s losing his job vs. 46 percent who say they disapprove. One in seven of the people polled (15 percent) say they have no opinion. The results show typical partisan divisions. Republicans broadly support the president's decision: 79 percent of Republicans back Comey's ouster vs. only 13 percent who disapprove. ABC
VOA VIEW: Any liberal poll is and should be questionable.

Extortionists Mount Global Hacking Attack Seeking Ransom
Extortionist hackers who may be using leaked computer exploits from the U.S. National Security Agency infiltrated computers in dozens of countries in a fast-spreading attack that forced British hospitals to turn away patients and breached systems at Spain’s Telefonica SA and organizations from Russia to Taiwan. The ransomware used in Friday’s cyber-attacks encrypts files and demands that victims pay $300 in bitcoin for them to be decrypted, the latest in a vexing style of security breaches that, at the very least, forces organizations to revert to backup systems to keep critical systems running. The malicious software has infected more than 75,000 computers in 99 countries worldwide on Friday, most of them concentrated in Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan, according to Dutch cybersecurity company Avast Software BV. Bloomberg

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U.S. And Europe To Hold Talks On Broadening Airline Laptop Ban
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly will meet with European Commission officials in Brussels next week to discuss prohibiting passengers bound for America from carrying laptops and other electronic devices in airliner cabins. Kelly on Friday talked with European commissioners Dimitris Avramopoulos and Violeta Bulc. Even though European airports and airlines are preparing for a ban, no action has been announced as officials continue their talks. Avramopoulos told Kelly that the threat affects the EU and the U.S. in the same way and so the response should be made in common, according to a summary of the conversation provided by a European Commission official. Avramopoulos and Bulc wrote to Kelly earlier in the week to seek more collaboration. Bloomberg

Pope Cheered In Fatima To Honor Children Who Urged Peace
Pope Francis urged Catholics on Friday to "tear down all walls" and spread peace as he traveled to this Portuguese shrine town to mark the 100th anniversary of one of the most unique events of the 20th-century Catholic Church: the visions of the Virgin Mary reported by three illiterate shepherd children and the "secrets" she told them.
Thousands of pilgrims lined Francis' motorcade route and tossed flower petals, evidence that Latin America's first pope has a huge following in this largely Catholic country. Cheers of "Viva o papa!" — "Long live the pope" — erupted when Francis pulled into Fatima's main square, which had been doused by heavy rains but was treated to a brilliant warm sun by the time he arrived. Las Vegas Sun

US Prosecutors Told To Push For More, Harsher Punishments
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is directing federal prosecutors to pursue the most serious charges possible against the vast majority of suspects, a reversal of Obama-era policies that is sure to send more people to prison and for much longer terms. The move has long been expected from Sessions, a former federal prosecutor who cut his teeth during the height of the crack cocaine epidemic and who has promised to make combating violence and drugs the Justice Department's top priority.
"This policy affirms our responsibility to enforce the law, is moral and just, and produces consistency," Sessions wrote in a memo to U.S. attorneys made public early Friday. Advocates quickly criticized the move as a revival of the worst aspects of the drug war, which subjected nonviolent, lower-level offenders to unfairly harsh sentences that disproportionately hurt minority communities. Las Vegas Sun

Chronic Illness In Children Linked To Mental Health Issues Later
The effects of chronic illness in children can have a significant impact on their mental health when they become adults, according to a new study. A study at the University of Sussex and University College London analyzed 37 medical studies to find a link between eight chronic childhood physical illnesses, including asthma, cancer, chronic renal failure, congenital heart disease, cystic fibrosis, type 1 diabetes, epilepsy and arthritis, and emotional problems later in life. Researchers found that all the children reviewed who experienced chronic conditions in childhood were at an increased risk of developing depression or anxiety and emotional problems that continued through adulthood. UPI

China To Import Poultry, Beef In New U.S. Trade Deal
The United States and China signed a new trade deal on poultry and other products that left steel and aluminum untouched, a joint statement said. The disclosure of a 10-point deal Thursday suggested President Donald Trump, after meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping in April, is willing to show flexibility on Chinese exports to the United States in exchange for Chinese cooperation in dealing with North Korea and its nuclear program, The New York Times reported Friday. Under the announced deals, China will import U.S. beef and poultry and will accelerate consideration of U.S. applications to sell bioengineered seeds in China. The deal also allows foreign-owned firms to offer credit-rating services in China and provide licenses to two U.S. financial institutions to underwrite bonds. UPI

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Iran Election: Fierce Exchanges In Final TV Debate
Angry exchanges have erupted during the final televised debate before Iran's presidential election next week. President Hassan Rouhani accused one of his rivals of abusing religion to win power and another of wanting to beat up students. In return he was accused of corruption, economic mismanagement and failing to bring any benefits from a landmark nuclear deal. Mr Rouhani is seeking a second four-year term in next Friday's election. Although seen by some as a reforming figure, Mr Rouhani has cast himself more as a moderate pragmatist working within the establishment. BBC

Smartphones That Charge In Five Minutes 'Could Arrive Next Year'
Smartphones with batteries that fully charge in five minutes could be available to consumers next year. The technology was first shown off in 2015, when Israeli start-up StoreDot demonstrated its FlashBattery at the CES tech show in Las Vegas. Chief executive Doron Myersdorf told the BBC it is now expected to enter production in early 2018. However, Ben Wood, a technology analyst at CCS Insight, said he had doubts about the claims. Mr Myersdorf said he could not reveal which manufacturers were signed up to use the technology. In 2015, he told the BBC his firm's battery contained materials that allowed for "non-traditional" reactions and the unusually fast transfer of ions from an anode to a cathode - the electrical process that charges a battery. BBC

Popularity Of Sushi Has Brought Rise In Parasitic Infections, Warn Doctors
From nigiri to temaki, sushi has boomed in popularity in the west, but now doctors are warning of a less appetising trend: a rise in parasitic infections. A team of doctors from Portugal raised concerns after a 32-year old man was admitted to hospital complaining of pain in his abdomen just below his ribs, vomiting and had a slight fever, all of which had lasted for a week. An endoscopy soon revealed the culprit: the larvae of a type of parasitic worm from the genus Anisakis. The doctors note that the condition, known as anisakiasis, is caused by eating undercooked or raw fish or seafood that has been contaminated: indeed, questioning of the patient revealed that he had recently eaten sushi. Guardian

Republican Voters Criticize Health Bill Amid Fears Over Pre-Existing Conditions
Matthew Frankic, a health insurance broker and Republican voter, makes his living signing people up for the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Since the law went into effect in 2014, he has seen flaws. Each year, health insurance in his section of southern Indiana has seemed to cost more, and fewer doctors and hospitals seemed to accept it. But he supported the unpopular Republican effort to reform the law until he heard one group would have to pay more for insurance: those who are already ill. “I am not for what they brought out,” said Frankic. “And my main reasoning behind that is because of pre-existing conditions.” “Pre-existing condition” was once insurance industry jargon, but is now common parlance to refer to Affordable Care Act (ACA) protections that bar health insurance companies from denying coverage to people based on their health. Guardian

'She Is An Anchor Of Stability': Merkel Looks To See Off Left-Wing Challenger In Bellwether Regional Election
The man who would dethrone Angela Merkel came to town on Friday, but only a small crowd turned up to hear him speak. Martin Schulz, the former European parliament president and staunch Brexit critic, made an impassioned appeal ahead of bellwether regional elections. “We owe it to democracy to vote,” he said. “We have to defend what we have struggled so hard for.” But all the signs are that his campaign to replace Mrs Merkel is fading away before it even began. If the polls are to be believed — no certainty in the post-Brexit world — the woman they used to call the “Queen of Europe” is on course for her most stunning comeback yet. North Rhine-Westphalia, which goes to the ballot box on Sunday in the last regional vote ahead of September’s national election, is no ordinary German state. With 18m people, it is home to almost a quarter of the country’s population. In Germany they call Sunday’s...Telgraph

NASA Says The Test Flight Of Its New Megarocket Will Fly Without A Crew
NASA's new megarocket will launch without astronauts on its test flight, now delayed until 2019 because of technical challenges, the space agency's top leaders said Friday. In February at the request of the White House, NASA began studying the possibility of putting a crew on the first flight. After reviewing the costs and risks, the space agency decided against it. The White House took part in the decision, said NASA's Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot. Still in development, the super-sized Space Launch rocket is meant to eventually send astronauts to Mars. The first launch had been targeted for next year, but now won't happen until 2019 when NASA will send an unoccupied Orion capsule to the vicinity of the moon for a three-week trial run. Telegraph

Amid Widening Needs For Displaced Somalis, UN Refugee Agency Revises Funding Appeal
The United Nations refugee agency has increased its funding appeal by $91 million to meet the humanitarian needs of Somali refugees in the region and the people displaced inside the Horn of Africa country. “We are seeking some $488 million to provide continued support to displaced Somalis in 2017,” said Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), at the regular bi-weekly press briefing in Geneva. The update includes an additional requirement of $91 million for Somali refugees in Ethiopia, Kenya, Yemen and those displaced inside Somalia, he added. UN News

Time Now To Maximize On The Opportunities Offered In Haiti, Highlights Head Of UN Advisory Group
Following their recent visit to Haiti, a United Nations advisory group on the island nation called on the international community to work closely with the Government and capitalize on the opportunities that have presented there. “Haiti now has a Government and a President that has been elected – a Government that has been put in place and which seems to be functioning,” Marc-André Blanchard, Chair of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti and the Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN, told a press conference at the UN Headquarters in New York. UN News

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