NEWS   SUNDAY, MAY  14, 2017   NEWS

Trump Urges Liberty Graduates To Find Courage To Challenge Critics, Assails Washington Leaders As 'Failed Voices'
President Trump on Saturday urged graduates of Liberty University to “never give up” and find the courage to challenge the establishment and critics, much like he has done in Washington. "In my short time in Washington, I've seen firsthand how the system is broken," he said. "A small group of failed voices, who think they know everything … want to tell everybody else how to live,” Trump said in his commencement speech at the Christian school, in Lynchburg, Va. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Wining president to wining university.

Democratic National Convention Host Group Got Nearly $1M In Bonuses
The committee that raised money for last summer's Democratic National Convention used surplus funds to hand out nearly $1 million in bonuses for staff members as well as grants for Philadelphia schools and nonprofits, rankling some state lawmakers who ponied up $10 million in tax dollars for the event. The bonuses to the host committee staff came from a $4 million post-convention surplus and were disclosed in a Jan. 31 filing with the Federal Election Commission. They were first reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer. All told, the committee raised $86 million in public and private money. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Madness!

Russian Money-Laundering Details Remain In The Dark As US Settles Fraud Case
A major US investigation into Russian money laundering has come to an abrupt end. The case aimed to expose how Russian mobsters allegedly stole $230 million and hid some of the cash in New York City real estate. Also sure to come up was the suspicious death of the Russian lawyer who exposed the alleged fraud, though US prosecutors weren't alleging that the defendants were behind it. The trial was set to start on Monday, but late Friday night, federal prosecutors in New York announced they settled the case with Prevezon, the company accused of buying up "high-end commercial space and luxury apartments" with laundered money. The abrupt conclusion has some involved in the trial wondering why this Russian investigation had been cut short. CNN

South Korean Military: North Korea Launches Ballistic Missile
North Korea launched a ballistic missile from the northwestern part of the country early Sunday, the South Korean Joints Chief of Staff said. "Our military is closely monitoring for provocative movements by North Korea and is maintaining all readiness postures," a statement from the military said. The missile, launched near the city of Kusong, flew 700 kilometers (435 miles), the South Korean military said. A US defense official confirmed that it flew that far, but said the US is still assessing what type of missile it was. CNN
VOA VIEW: Trouble looms in North Korea.

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Trump Pledges To Move Quickly To Name New FBI Director
President Donald Trump said on Saturday he will move quickly to nominate a new FBI director, after he sparked a political firestorm by firing the man investigating possible collusion between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign. Trump told reporters he might even be able to make his decision on who should succeed James Comey to lead the Federal Bureau of Investigation before he leaves on his first foreign trip on Friday. "Even that is possible," Trump said, speaking on Air Force One before departing for Lynchburg, Virginia, where he delivered a commencement address. Reuters
VOA VIEW: Trump will make America proud.

Attorney General Sessions Charts Course Back To Long Drug Sentences
The Trump era of drug enforcement has officially arrived, and it sounds a lot like the old days. The message came this week in the form of a memo from Attorney General Jeff Sessions to all federal prosecutors: Stop seeking leniency for low-level drug offenders and start seeking the toughest penalties possible. That's what federal authorities used to do, when the war on drugs fueled the passage of mandatory minimum sentencing laws. But under former President Barack Obama, the Justice Department tried to rein in the use of those statutes, which advocates say were used disproportionately against minorities and led to massive prison overcrowding. MSNBC

The Age Of Trump Is Producing More Black Gun Owners
Owners of gun ranges say first-time black gun buyers are flocking in, filling open seats in gun-safety and concealed-carry classes, and diversifying the ranks of enthusiasts, who tend to be older white males. "People feel that they have, perhaps, a president that they don't feel is going to protect them, that's there for them," said Kevin Jones, the Ohio director of the National African-American Gun Association and co-owner of Urban Sports Unlimited in Cleveland. MSNBC
VOA VIEW: Black BS.

LA Not Sure It Will Play Trump Card In Games Bid
Whether U.S. President Donald Trump will travel to Peru in September to promote Los Angeles' 2024 Olympics bid is an open question but many believe the controversial leader would do more harm than good as the city vies with Paris for the Games. Trump's executive order to temporarily ban travel from six Muslim-majority countries, which is currently being reviewed in the courts, could prove problematic with the diverse membership of the International Olympic Committee when they vote later this year. Reuters

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WikiLeaks Offers $100k Bounty For Alleged ‘Tapes’ Between Trump And Comey
President Trump’s alluding Friday to having taped his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey has already propelled the purported talks to the top of WikiLeaks’ wish list. The anti-secrecy website on Friday said it’s willing to pay $100,000 for the “tapes” referenced by the president this week in the wake of Mr. Comey’s unexpected dismissal Tuesday as the federal government’s top investigator. “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” Mr. Trump tweeted Friday morning. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: We will offer twice the amount for the alleged tapes if private or not used by others.

J.W. Ledford Jr., Georgia Death Row Inmate, Requests Firing Squad In Federal Appeals Suit
A convicted murderer slated to die by lethal injection on Tuesday has mounted an eleventh-hour bid to be killed by firing squad instead. Lawyers for the condemned, J.W. Ledford Jr., argue their client has developed a tolerance that may complicate matters if the state attempts to execute him as planned next week with the barbiturate pentobarbital. Ledford has used the drug gabapentin for more than a decade to treat chronic nerve pain, according to his attorneys. Because the drug has been linked to dulling the affects of pentobarbital, however, they argue lethal injection in this case may amount to cruel and unusual punishment. Washington Times

Nations Grapple With Massive Cyberattack As More Threats Loom
Teams of technicians worked around the clock Saturday to restore Britain's crippled hospital network and secure the computers that run factories, banks, government agencies and transport systems in other nations after a global cyberattack. The worldwide cyberextortion attack is so unprecedented that Microsoft quickly changed its policy, announcing security fixes available for free for the older Windows systems still used by millions of individuals and smaller businesses. CBS

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Does Firing James Comey Put Trump In Legal Jeopardy?
The FBI is investigating meddling by the Russians in the U.S. election and whether anyone on the Trump team colluded with them. Former FBI Director James Comey was heading that investigation, so does firing him put the president in legal jeopardy? Within hours of President Trump's tape tweet, a pair of top Democrats had sent a letter to the White House counsel, requesting "copies of all recordings regarding this matter." "The president's actions this morning," they warned, "raise the specter of possible intimidation and obstruction of justice." CBS
VOA VIEW: No!

If Trump Tapes Exist, They Could Spell Trouble
For the first time since an Oval Office taping system was removed by President Richard Nixon's chief of staff nearly 44 years ago, a president has hinted that White House conversations might again be secretly recorded. If so, President Donald Trump is following a problematic precedent. While several presidents secretly recorded conversations without problems, the practice is most associated with Nixon. His recordings became prime evidence during the Watergate investigation that ultimately led to his resignation. Sooner or later, recordings are likely to become public. ABC

Voter Fuming Over Health Care Shoves Cash Down Congressman’s Shirt
Another intense exchange took place this week over the American Health Care Act (AHCA) -- this time between a GOP House member and an angry voter in North Dakota who shoved cash down the congressman’s shift. Representative Kevin Cramer (R-ND) is just the latest in a string of GOP House members on the receiving end of anger over the passage of the AHCA. At a town hall Thursday night in Mandan, North Dakota a man – later identified as Mike Quinn of Hazen, North Dakota – confronted Cramer about the AHCA. ABC

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Hospitals Gain Control After Ransom Hack, More Attacks May Come
Most U.K. health facilities whose computer systems were crippled in a global cyber-attack are back to normal operation, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said, even as experts warned that hackers would probably launch a new round of attacks with many computers still vulnerable. About 97 percent of facilities and doctors affected are able to work normally, Rudd said Saturday after a U.K. government meeting. At the height of the attack Friday and early Saturday, 48 organizations in the National Health Service were affected, and hospitals in London, North West England and Central England urged people with non-emergency conditions to stay away as technicians tried to stop the spread of the malicious software. Bloomberg

America First Divides G-7 Even As Ministers Warm To Mnuchin
Finance ministers signaled a truce in their trade quarrel with Donald Trump’s administration as his Treasury Secretary said the Group of Seven is starting to understand where he’s coming from. Steven Mnuchin’s third encounter with the international community, at a meeting of finance chiefs in Italy, deepened ties even as his government’s “America First” policy continues to challenge the global economic consensus. A statement at the southern port of Bari mirrored watered-down trade language from the Group of 20 two months ago, but ministers afterwards suggested an increasingly pragmatic tone to the talks after a stilted start. “Of course we recognize that there are different starting points, different views in different countries,” the chair of the talks, Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan, told Bloomberg Television, adding that “this is not an obstacle to reaching a common perspective.” Earlier, he told reporters that “the relationship with Mnuchin improves every time we see each other.” Bloomberg

Pope Says He’ll Seek Common Ground With Trump, Won’t Preach
Pope Francis says he won't try to convince U.S. President Donald Trump to soften his policies on immigration and the environment when they meet this month, but wants instead to find common ground and work for peace. Francis said proselytizing isn't his style — in politics or religion. Speaking to reporters while traveling home Saturday from a trip to Portugal, Francis said he would say what he thinks sincerely to Trump and listen respectfully to what Trump has to say. "I never make a judgment about a person without hearing him out," the pope said. Speculation has swirled about what Trump and Francis will discuss during their May 24 audience, given Francis has already said anyone who wants to build walls to keep out migrants is "not Christian." Las Vegas Sun

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Thousands In Madrid Demand End To Bullfighting In Spain
Thousands of animal rights activists protested Saturday in Madrid to demand an end to Spain's long tradition of bullfighting. The march went through the Spanish capital's city center, with several groups united under one clear-cut message: "Bullfighting is violence and you can stop it." Animal rights activists say the gory fights are among the planet's most blatant forms of animal cruelty, with bulls lanced and finally stabbed through the heart. Matadors are praised for killing with a single stab, though some don't succeed in finishing off the animal with repeated thrusts. Las Vegas Sun

Company Recalls 250K Lbs. Of Frozen Burritos Over Listeria Concerns
New Mexico-based food company Green Chile recalled more than 250,000 lbs., of frozen, pre-cooked burritos over potential listeria contamination, officials said. The recall covers a dozen varieties of ready-to-eat microwavable burritos manufactured between May 8 and 10. The products were distributed in four states: California, Illinois, Oregon and South Dakota. The potential listeria exposure was discovered during a routine food safety test by inspectors at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
There have been no confirmed illnesses as a result of individuals eating the Green Chile products, the USDA said. Anyone who has bought one of the items should throw it away or return it to the place of purchase. UPI
VOA VIEW: A little, no a lot late.

Tai Chi May Ease Insomnia In Breast Cancer Survivors
For breast cancer survivors who struggle with sleep, a new study suggests that tai chi might calm their restless nights. Researchers found this slow-moving form of meditation was as good as talk therapy and more effective than medication in treating insomnia and reducing the risk for sleep loss-related health issues, including depression, fatigue and a weakened immune system. "Breast cancer survivors often don't just come to physicians with insomnia. They have insomnia, fatigue and depression," said study leader Dr. Michael Irwin. He directs UCLA's Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, in Los Angeles. UPI

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TRUMP ENTERS MIDEAST CYCLE OF HOPE AND DISAPPOINTMENT
When Donald Trump took office in January many parts of the world looked askance at the new US leader. He had offended Mexico, seemed ready to ditch NATO and cozied up to euroskeptics. China was nonplussed at his critiques of its trade policy. But in the Middle East the rise of Trump was greeted with optimism. Praise and high hopes for Trump came from across the spectrum, from left-wing Kurdish fighters in Syria to the Israeli right wing, from Ankara to Cairo. However, as Trump prepares his first foreign foray, with a focus on the Middle East, he faces what every US administration before his has. Great expectations and the inevitable disappointment. Jerusalem Post
VOA VIEW: There will be know peace deal.

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. It was, however, clear that the reformist vote remained an important focus, given the three hours of fierce exchanges with hardline opponents. BBC

Michelle Obama Attacks Trump School Meals Policy
Michelle Obama has launched a fierce defence of the healthy eating initiatives she championed as first lady. At a public health summit in Washington, she hit back after the Trump administration loosened nutritional standards aimed at making US school lunches healthier. "Think about why someone is OK with your kids eating crap," she said. One in five American children is obese, government figures show. In thinly-veiled criticism of the policies of the new administration, Mrs Obama told the audience: "This is where you really have to look at motives, you know. BBC
VOA VIEW: Michelle is no longer a power or voice.

Ebola Outbreak Declared In Democratic Republic Of The Congo After Three Die
An Ebola outbreak has been declared in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where three people have been confirmed dead and another six are suspected to be infected with the virus, the World Health Organization has said. Investigations are still being carried out into how the Ebola virus – which killed 49 people in DRC during a three-month outbreak in 2014 – suddenly occured in the equatorial forest region of Bas-Uele province, which borders Central African Republic (CAR). In a televised address, DRC’s health minister, Oly Ilunga Kalenga, warned that the outbreak was a “national health emergency with international significance” but urged people “not to panic”. Guardian

Lawyers Who Said Trump Has No Ties To Russia Named Russian Law Firm Of 2016
The law firm that said Donald Trump has no financial ties to Russia “with a few exceptions” was recognized in 2016 as Russia law firm of the year. In the letter released on Friday – but dated 8 March – Morgan Lewis tax partners Sherri A Dillon and William F Nelson said a review of Trump’s tax returns for the past 10 years did not find income from Russian sources during that period, save for “a few exceptions”. Trump has refused to release his tax returns, a break with decades of tradition. The law firm did not release copies of the returns, rendering its assessment of the documents impossible to verify independently. Guardian

Paris Prepares For Emmanuel Macron's Inauguration As French President
Mr Macron, 39, a pro-European centrist, will become the youngest president in French history after walking up the red carpet to the palace steps and exchanging a ceremonial handshake with Mr Hollande. Mr Macron would normally be accompanied on the red carpet by his wife Brigitte, but because there is no outgoing First Lady, protocol will oblige her to enter the palace before him, along with other guests. Mr Macron and Mr Hollande will withdraw for about half an hour to discuss matters of state in private. Mr Hollande will hand over the codes for France’s nuclear arsenal. Telegraph

UK Steel Makers Lobby Not To Be Cut Out Of Vital American Market
The UK body representing Britain’s steel industry has written to Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, asking him to contact his opposite number in the US to plead the case. Last month President Trump stepped up his efforts to protect US industry, launching a “Section 232” investigation into imports of steel to America. Saying he would “fight for American workers and American-made steel”, President Trump told Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to begin the investigation on the grounds of protecting national security. Telegraph

Armed Group Attacks Civilians, UN In Central African Republic Overnight; One Peacekeeper Killed
The United Nations peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic is sending reinforcements to the south-eastern town of Bangassou, where an armed group opened fire on civilians overnight killing an undisclosed number and at least one UN peacekeeper. “The armed elements continue to systematically and deliberately attack the MINUSCA base with heavy weaponry to impede the peacekeepers from doing their extremely vital task of protecting the civilian population and to divert them from their primary vocation of saving lives,” the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the country, known by the French acronym MINUSCA, said in a statement. UN News

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