NEWS   THURSDAY, MAY  18, 2017   NEWS

House Oversight Panel Calls For May 24 Hearing With Comey
The Republican-led House oversight committee said Wednesday it plans to invite fired FBI Director James Comey to a May 24 hearing, amid questions on whether President Trump tried to interfere with the FBI investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 race. Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, tweeted that he's asked Comey to testify at the hearing. He added, "I still need to speak with him," suggesting the hearing is not yet set in stone. Trump’s firing last week of Comey raised concerns about whether the president was trying to sideline the Russia probe, which is examining Russian ties to his 2016 presidential campaign. Adding to the furor, The New York Times first reported Tuesday on claims that Trump asked Comey to end a bureau probe into then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's Russia contacts. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Democrats will lose at the end.

Dem Rep. Green Calls For Trump Impeachment On House Floor
Al Green calls for President Trump's impeachment.Texas Democratic Rep. Al Green renewed calls for the impeachment of President Trump on the House floor Wednesday, in the wake of new allegations concerning the Russia probe -- as other lawmakers warned against a rush to judgment. Green first called for impeachment on Monday, joining other liberal lawmakers like Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., in pursuing a step most Democratic leaders suggest is premature. But the New York Times report claiming Trump asked former FBI chief James Comey to end the probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn emboldened Green.“I rise today, Mr. Speaker, to call for the impeachment of the President of the United States of America for obstruction of justice,” Green said, implying Trump fired Comey due the Russian investigation. “We cannot allow this to go unchecked—the president is not above the law, it is time for the American people to weigh in.” Fox News
VOA VIEW: Green is an idiot.

Paul Ryan: 'I Do' Have Confidence In Trump
House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday he still has confidence in President Donald Trump, following a tumultuous 48 hours when the President has been criticized -- including by those in his own party -- about whether he asked then-FBI Director James Comey to end an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The Wisconsin Republican was asked on his way out of a news conference whether he still had confidence in Trump, and he responded, "I do."Ryan's comments offer a small but significant amount cover from a high-profile Republican leader to the a President, who's feeling heat from both parties after sources revealed Tuesday Comey wrote a memo in which he said Trump asked him to "move on" from investigating Flynn. Trump has seen few Republican lawmakers rush to his defense and many are publicly demanding answers from the executive branch. CNN
VOA VIEW: Ryan is on the smart side.

US Renews Hold On Iran Nuclear Sanctions, Implements Missile Sanctions
The US will continue to waive certain economic sanctions on Iran's nuclear program while simultaneously implementing a new set of sanctions related to Iran's ballistic missile program, the State Department said in a statement Wednesday. The announcement effectively continues US participation in the Iran nuclear deal -- officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA -- for the time being, even as the Trump administration is conducting a broad review of US Iran policy.
Under the deal, the US and five other world powers agreed to lift sanctions in exchange for Iran rolling back its nuclear program. Rather than permanently repealing US sanctions, which would have required congressional action, the Obama administratio put a temporary hold on them, which must be periodically extended as long as Iran remains in compliance with the deal. CNN

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Rep. King: 'I'm Not Aware Of Any Evidence At All Of Any Collusion' Between Trump And Russia
Representative Peter King (R-N.Y.), who serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he is "not aware of any evidence whatsoever" of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and added that anyone who claims President Donald Trump engaged, in effect, in "treason" does not know what they are talking about. He further said that talk of Trump trying to kill the investigation of alleged collusion is "untrue." “Let me just say this clearly, right now," said Rep. King during a May 14 "John Cats Roundtable" interview on AM970 The Answer. "I’m not aware of any evidence whatsoever of any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, or between Russia and the Trump campaign." "And all this talk about calling for a special prosecutor or that Donald Trump is trying to kill the investigation, that is untrue," said Rep. King. CNS News
VOA VIEW: King is playing it smart.

Someone ‘Selectively Leaking Information … To Create A Narrative’ Should Be A Concern
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday that the American people should be concerned that someone is “selectively leaking information and facts” about the Trump administration to “create a narrative” and further an agenda. During an off-camera gaggle, Spicer was asked several questions about a Washington Post report that said President Donald Trump inappropriately shared classified information with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and a Russian ambassador during a White House visit last week. Earlier in the day, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster addressed the report, saying that the president shared information that was “wholly appropriate” at the time, but that the president wasn’t “briefed on the source or method of the information.” CNS News

U.S. Immigration Arrests Up nearly 40 Percent Under Trump
U.S. arrests of suspected illegal immigrants rose by nearly 40 percent in the first 100 days of Donald Trump's presidency, following executive orders that broadened the scope of who could be targeted for immigration violations, according to government data released on Wednesday. The acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Thomas Homan said that arrests by his agency jumped to 41,318 between January 22 of this year and the end of April, up from 30,028 arrests in roughly the same period last year. Of those arrested almost two-thirds had criminal convictions. But there was also a significant jump - of more than 150 percent - in the number of immigrants not convicted of further crimes arrested by ICE: 10,800 since the beginning of the year compared to 4,200 non-criminal arrests in the same period in 2016. Reuters
VOA VIEW: Great!

U.S. Industry Seeks Faster Permits, Simpler Rules In Trump Regulation Reset
U.S. industry groups have told President Donald Trump's administration that they want two main things from his promised regulatory overhaul: a speedier permit process and simpler environmental rules. Associations representing the drilling, refining, mining, and building industries have submitted hundreds of pages of documents to the Commerce Department and Environmental Protection Agency in recent weeks, outlining regulations they want to see eliminated or modified. The comments, many targeting the EPA, come in response to a pair of executive orders Trump signed during his first weeks in office, meant to cut the regulatory burden on companies. Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress have already moved to rescind a slew of Obama-era environmental protections, including some aimed at combating global climate change. Reuters

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Special Counsel Will Take Over FBI Russia Campaign Interference Investigation
Bowing to public and Congressional pressure, Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Bob Mueller on Wednesday to be a special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, Justice Department officials said. Mueller will take command of the prosecutors and FBI agents who are working on the far reaching Russia investigation, which spans multiple FBI field offices on both coasts. Mueller led the FBI for 12 years under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He is second only to J. Edgar Hoover for longest tenure for an FBI chief. The FBI, with the help of the Treasury Department, the CIA and other agencies, has been examining evidence of possible contacts, money transfers and business relationships between a variety of President Trump's associates and Russian officials, sources say. MSNBC
VOA VIEW: A waste of money - big plus for Trump and embarrassment to Democrats and the liberal media.

Dow Closes Down 372 Points As Markets Lose Confidence In Trump
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by 372.82 points on Wednesday, bringing the giddy post-election rally of the past few months to a halt as investors began to worry about the daily revelations of disarray with President Donald Trump's administration. It's the first time since Trump's election that the market has snubbed the commander in chief, and a clear indication of waning confidence in the president's ability to fulfill his key promises of tax reform, eregulation, and investment in infrastructure. Play Donald Trump Is Having a Very Bad Month Facebook Twitter Embed. Donald Trump Is Having a Very Bad Month 1:54The  Dow closed at 20,606, with financials such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley absorbing the most losses. "This is clearly Washington-driven," Michael Shaoul, chairman and CEO of Marketfield Asset Management, told CNBC. "It's a lot like 1998-99, when the market had to deal with the [Monica] Lewinsky scandal." MSNBC
VOA VIEW: The liberal MSNBC says the decline in due to Trump, but never have him credit for the tremendous increase.

OBAMA'S JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REFUSED TO HIRE VETERANS FOR JOBS
The Obama Justice Department discriminated against military veterans then canceling the postings altogether and rewriting the jobs to prevent the veterans from qualifying, a government watchdog said Wednesday. Under federal law, veterans should have gotten preferential consideration for the two positions in the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program. But Justice officials had their eye on non-veterans, and scheduled meetings off-site to try to force the veteran candidates to withdraw their applications, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel said. The vterans refused to withdraw and human resources told the ICITAP hiring officials that they had to hire the veterans. Intent on avoiding that, the ICITAP then canceled the initial job-postings and re-listed the jobs a year later, in 2016, with new qualifications that excluded the veterans, the OSC’s investigative report said. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Obama was and is a bum.

Astronauts On International Space Station Ace Milestone 200th Spacewalk
An equipment water leak shortened Friday’s spacewalk by two U.S. astronauts at the International Space Station, but they still managed to replace a faulty electronics box. Despite the initial trouble, it was a milestone moment as Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer floated outside on the station’s 200th spacewalk. The astronauts wasted no time removing the old electronics box, their No. 1 chore, and plugging in a new unit. The device — a bit unwieldy at more than 5 feet long — supplies electricity and data to science experiments on the outside of the station. The pair also whipped through other tasks, leaving only two undone. Kansas City Star

Trump Will Not Announce Highly Anticipated Changes In Cuba Policy
After much anticipation that an announcement on Cuba policy changes would be made no later than Saturday, President Donald Trump — in the midst of various political crises — has not decided what to do, officials said. The White House had considered holding an event May 20 to commemorate the 115th anniversary of the birth of the Cuban Republic, but Trump will begin an international trip on Friday and the review of the policy toward the island has not concluded, a spokeswoman told el Nuevo Herald. “The issue of Cuba is extremely complex, and the president does not want to rush it,” said the spokeswoman. “Besides, he won’t be here on May 20.”
Miami Herald

Lawmakers Demand FBI, White House Records As Trump Controversies Grow
Congressional Republicans are increasing pressure on the administration to produce records related to the latest string of controversies involving President Donald Trump, amid flagging confidence in the White House and a growing sense that scandal is overtaking the presidency. As the White House sought to contain the damage from two major scandals, leaders of two key Senate committees asked the FBI for documents related to former director James Comey, who was leading an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election before Trump fired him last week. The Republican chairmen and ranking Democrats on the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary committees asked the FBI to hand over Comey's notes about his communications with the White House and senior Justice Department officials related to the Russia investigation. SF Gate

Nacho Cheese From Gas Station Likely Cause Of NorCal Botulism Outbreak
A screenshot from a GoFundMe page for Lavinia Kelly shows the mother with her three children. Kelly reportedly contracted botulism after eating nacho cheese from a gas station on April 21. A Sacramento mother of three is spending her 33rd birthday in the hospital Wednesday after a rare form of food poisoning has left her partially paralyzed and breathing on a ventilator. Lavinia Kelly is one of five confirmed cases of botulism suspected to have been contracted from the Valley Oak Food and Fuel gas station in Sacramento, according to a statement from the county. Authorities have confirmed five other cases of botulism linked to the gas station and continue to investigate four other cases. All nine patients remain hospitalized. Officials suspect the source of the outbreak to be nacho cheese sauce. SF Gate

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Comptroller General: Government ‘Not Really Able To Determine Extent’ Of Its Wasteful Spending
The federal government can’t even say how much money it wastes each year on improper payments, the comptroller general testified to Congress on Wednesday. Since 2003 the government has racked up at least $1.2 trillion, the Government Accountability Office estimates — but says agencies are so hindered in their tracking abilities that it’s impossible to know for sure how big the problem really is. “The federal government really is not able to determine the extent of this problem across the government, or have a reasonable prospect that it’s managing it properly to reduce these improper payments,” Gene Dodaro, the comptroller general, told the Senate Budget Committee. Washington Times

Trump Likely To Sign Waiver Keeping U.S. Embassy In Tel Aviv For Now
Mr. Trump spoke with Egypt's President al Sisi on Monday, and among the topics discussed was the impact of moving the embassy. This call was not on the White House schedule or readout, and the White House spokespeople seemed unaware of the call, but CBS News has confirmed that it took place. It was hastily arranged, and Mr. Trump initiated it, according to a White House official and the Egyptian government. The two will meet again in Saudi Arabia this weekend.Trump assessing how moving U.S. embassy in Israel affects peace prospects. A growing number of diplomats from the region, as well as U.S. sources, are telling me that Trump will sign the waiver at the end of the month that keeps the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. Under the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, Congress called for and funded the relocation of the embassy to Jerusalem, for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. However, the law has never been implemented - Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have signed waivers based on national security interests. CBS
VOA VIEW: Three previous presidents punted for the sake of trying to keep peace.

What Is Obstruction Of Justice And Could It Apply To Trump
Amid searing reports that President Donald Trump asked then-FBI director James Comey to drop the agency’s investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, questions are being raised about whether the president obstructed justice. A source close to Comey confirmed to ABC News that the former FBI director, who was fired last week, was asked by Trump in February to end the FBI probe into ties between Flynn and Russia, according to a memo Comey wrote about his conversation with the president. In the memo, which was shared with top FBI associates, Comey wrote that Trump said "I hope you can let this go," in relation to the investigation into Flynn’s actions, according to a source who read the memo. “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump said to Comey, according to the source. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” ABC

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Obamacare Helped Americans Detect Cancer Earlier
Study finds more common cancers diagnosed at earliest stage. Treating cancer earlier may lead to higher survival rates. The number of Americans whose cancers were diagnosed at the earliest stage, when it’s most likely to be cured, increased after Obamacare went into effect and more citizens had access to health insurance, a new study found. While the effect was small, the study found that a higher proportion of new breast, lung and colorectal tumors were detected at stage 1 in 2014 compared with a year earlier. About 16.4 million Americans gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act by March 2015 through a combination of private and public insurance, according to a U.S. government analysis. The shift to earlier diagnosis, particularly for colorectal and lung cancers, happened primarily in states that expanded access to Medicaid, the insurance program for the poor, according to the study. Bloomberg

Pence Takes Steps To Build War Chest As White House Stumbles
Pence launched Great America Committee, a leadership PAC, a move that will enable him to channel money to congressional Republicans ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. The political action committee’s registration was posted Wednesday on the Federal Election Commission website. “The Vice President is playing a leading role in passing legislation on the Hill,” said Nick Ayers, a senior adviser to Pence in the 2016 campaign who will be running the PAC. “He wants to support House and Senate members who are helping pass the president’s agenda.” It’s unusual for vice presidents to set up their own fundraising vehicles. Neither Joseph Biden nor Dick Cheney, the two vice presidents who preceded Pence, had one while in office. It’s not entirely unprecedented, though: George H.W. Bush formed the Fund for America’s Future when he was preparing for his 1988 presidential run. Bloomberg

Mayor De Blasio Scores Best Job-Approval Rating Of Term
Mayor Bill de Blasio scored his best job-approval ratings of his term, according to a poll by Quinnipiac University released Wednesday that also found he’d beat front-running Republicans by 3-to-1 margins. By 60 percent to 34 percent, voters approve of de Blasio’s performance. The approval rating represented a 10-point jump since a similar survey in late February, when de Blasio was under criminal investigation for his fundraising. De Blasio since has been cleared. The new poll showed that de Blasio, a Democrat elected in 2013, would defeat two front-runners for the Republican nomination for mayor: Real estate executive Paul Massey and State Assemb. Nicole Malliotakis, of Staten Island. De Blasio would beat Massey 63 to 21 percent and Malliotakis by 64 to 21 percent, Quinnipiac said. Four of five voters said they didn’t know enough about either Republican to form an opinion. Newsday

ISIS May Be Forming A ‘Chemical Weapons Cell’ In Syria
ISIS is forming a “chemical weapons cell” — made up of countless experts from Iraq and Syria, a report says. A US official told CNN that the terror group is gathering all of its chemical weapons specialists from across the Middle East and bringing them to their new “de facto” capital within the Euphrates River Valley. Located in Syria, between Mayadin and al Qaim, the cell will sit just across the Iraqi border — and will be comprised of people who’ve never worked together. A defense official told CNN that “thousands” of ISIS operatives and sympathizers are believed to be in the area, and that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi may also be hunkered down there, as well. The region has served as headquarters for the group in the wake of the US-led offensive on Raqqa, its one-time capital. NY Post
VOA VIEW: Not a good image for Russia.

Pope Seeks To End Of Stigma Of Devastating Huntington's Disease
Pope Francis is trying to end the stigma of people afflicted with Huntington's Disease, an incurable genetic brain disorder that causes such serious involuntary movements and psychiatric problems that sufferers are often shunned and isolated. Francis held an audience Thursday with Huntington's sufferers and their families, as well as patient organizations and researchers trying to find treatments and a cure. Organizers said Francis was the first world leader to recognize the plight of those with Huntington's, and said the audience marked the start of a global awareness campaign. Many of the families came from South America, where Huntington's is 1,000 times more prevalent than in the rest of the world. It is particularly prevalent in Venezuela, where the affected gene was first identified 25 years ago. Tampa Tribune

WHO: 400 Contacts Being Traced In Congo's Ebola Outbreak
The World Health Organization says officials are tracing more than 400 contacts amid an Ebola outbreak in Congo that has been blamed for at least three deaths. Dr. Peter Salama, executive director of WHO's health emergencies program, said Thursday that a 39-year-old man is believed to be the first casualty. A motorcyclist transporting him and the man's caregiver also died. There are currently 17 other suspected cases in Likati, which is in one of the most remote areas of Congo. This Ebola outbreak is the eighth to hit Congo since 1976. The most recent came during the separate epidemic in West Africa in 2014. USA Today

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Trump Lashes Out At Critics, ‘Naysayers,’ Unfair Treatment
President Donald Trump lashed out Wednesday at his "critics and naysayers" following more than a week of negative news coverage beginning with his sudden decision to fire James Comey as FBI director. In an address to the newest group of U.S. Coast Guard officers, Trump urged the 195 graduates in the Class of 2017 to "put your head down and fight, fight, fight" when life presents them with challenges and adversity. Trump's appearance at the academy came the day after reports that he had personally appealed to Comey to abandon the FBI's investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Trump fired Flynn earlier this year for misleading top White House officials about his contacts with Russian officials. The White House has denied the latest report, which landed amid a furor over the president's recent Oval Office meeting with Russian diplomats in which Trump is said to have disclosed classified information. The White House has said it was "wholly appropriate" for Trump to share the information. Las Vegas Sun

State Dept. Criticizes Turkey For Violence Outside Embassy
U.S. officials strongly criticized the Turkish government Wednesday as video appeared to show its president's security forces pushing past police and violently breaking up a protest outside their diplomatic residence in Washington. President Donald Trump walks Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to his car following his visit to the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 16, 2017. Attacking the small group of protesters with their fists and feet, men in dark suits and others were recorded repeatedly kicking one woman as she lay curled on a sidewalk. Another wrenches a woman's neck and throws her to the ground. A man with a bullhorn is repeatedly kicked in the face. In all, nine people were hurt. Philadelphia Inquirer
VOA VIEW: Turkey is not very Democratic.

House Majority Leader To Colleagues In 2016: ‘I Think Putin Pays’ Trump
A month before Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination, one of his closest allies in Congress – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy – made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation on Capitol Hill with his fellow GOP leaders: that Trump could be the beneficiary of payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin. “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy, R-Calif., said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016, exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a Californian Republican known in Congress as a fervent defender of Putin and Russia. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy. Philadelphia Inquirer

Special Counsel Vs. Special Prosecutor: What's The Difference?
On Wednesday, former FBI director Robert Mueller was appointed to be a special counsel to oversee the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and the possibility of collusion between Russia and President Trump's campaign. So what is a special counsel? And what is the difference between a special counsel, a special prosecutor, and an independent counsel? The terms are largely interchangeable to refer to someone appointed to investigate allegations that could involve a conflict of interest within the Department of Justice. But the manner in which they are appointed and why has changed over time. The president has always had the authority to name a special prosecutor. After the crisis brought on by the Watergate scandal, Congress passed a law creating an "independent counsel" who could be appointed by a three-judge panel. After the experiences of the Iran-Contra investigation and the probe into the Clinton's Whitewater land deal, there was bipartisan support to abandon that law. Now, the attorney general, in addition to the president, has the power to appoint a special counsel. USA Today

The Worst Job In Washington Right Now: Working For Trump
As Donald Trump has grown increasingly angry and frustrated with his White House staff, the beleaguered targets of his ire have a quietly roiling gripe of their own — their boss, the president himself. In the nine days since he fired FBI Director James B. Comey, Trump has lurched through a series of crises of his own making — from the explosive report Monday that he had revealed highly classified intelligence to Russian officials to the bombshell Tuesday that he had urged Comey to end the federal investigation into Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser. And in his wake remain his exhausted aides and deputies, the frequent targets of Trump’s wrath as they struggle to control an uncontrollable chief executive and labor to explain away his stumbles. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: This is what the liberal media would like the people to believe.

Georgia Loses Jobs In April, But Unemployment Rate Improves Slightly
Georgia’s unemployment rate dropped in April, but the economy still lost 2,800 jobs, the state labor department said Thursday. The jobless rate continued a long march of improvement, slipping to 5.0 percent from 5.1 percent in March. It was 5.4 percent a year ago. Unemployment, which had soared into double digits at the end of the recession, has been slowly coming down since. But the state shed 2,800 jobs during the month, a worse performance than the average April. So the overall news is positive, but not clear: hiring seems to have stalled during the month, but the jobless rate is back to the level it was when the economy dropped into recession and the number of layoffs was apparently low. “New claims for unemployment insurance, a measure of new layoffs, dropped to the lowest level we’ve seen in nearly 19 years,” said Mark Butler, the state labor commissioner. Atlatna Journal

Lawyers Want Man Using Big-Penis Defense To Show Jury His Erection
Lawyers in the murder trial of a Florida man who wants to show his penis to the jury went back and forth this week on whether he would need to be erect. The trial for Richard Patterson, 65, of Margate began on Tuesday, but the judge has not ruled whether his genitals will be presented in the court room. Patterson’s lawyers want to use his penis as evidence to argue that his girlfriend Francisca Marquinez, 60, choked to death while performing oral sex on him in 2015. The prosecution reportedly doesn’t object, but argued at the trial that his penis must be erect, according to news station WPLG. “Do we do it in the back? Do we do it in open court?” assistant state attorney Peter Sapak asked. “How is the defendant going to be erect when the jury views it? Because a flaccid penis, whether it be a picture or the jury actually seeing it, is completely irrelevant. It needs to be erect.” NY Post

Donald Trump Jr., Dubai Business Partner Discuss 'New Ideas'
Donald Trump Jr. traveled to Dubai and met a billionaire business partner in the city-state, discussing "new ideas" as the Emirati's real estate firm still lists possible plans for future joint projects while Trump's father is in the White House. The Trump Organization has said it won't make new foreign deals while Donald Trump serves as America's 45th president. That didn't affect the Trump International Golf Club in Dubai's opening in February , while a previously planned Trump-branded golf course designed by Tiger Woods is still being built nearby. Both projects are being built by Dubai's DAMAC Properties, owned by Emirati billionaire Hussain Sajwani. His company has paid the Trump Organization's subsidiaries between $1 million to $5 million for the projects, according to a U.S. Federal Election Committee report submitted in May 2016. Houston Chronicle
VOA VIEW: The mount paid is "chump change."

States Scramble To Comply With Federal ID Law
Several states have struggled for years to comply with the REAL ID Act, a 2005 federal law that requires state driver's licenses and ID cards to have security enhancements and to be issued to people who can prove they are legally in the United States.  With a January deadline looming, lawmakers across the country have been scrambling for legislative fixes so residents can board flights and travel without confusion. Washington state was the latest to try to bring its system in line with those requirements, as Gov. Jay Inslee signed a measure Tuesday creating a two-tiered licensing system. Houston Chronicle
VOA VIEW: The right to vote is still not protected well.

Patients Of Older Doctors Have Higher Mortality Rates
According a study published recently by the British Medical Journal, patients of older physicians have a higher mortality rate of 1.3 percent when compared to their youngest counterparts. The study, which came from researchers from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, examined more than 700,000 patients of roughly 19,000 doctors from 2011 to 2014, per Ars Technica. What they found was a clear rise in mortality rates with age — although the results of the study do not prove younger doctors are better. According to Ars Technica, the study merely shows a correlation that researches now hope to study further. Charlotte Observer

U.S. Treasury Sanctions Iranians, Chinese For Supporting Assad
The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday sanctioned seven entities in Iran and China for selling missile systems to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Two top Iranian defense officials were named personally for allegedly providing missile technology to the Syrian government, along with a Chinese electronics company the Treasury Department said manufactured missile-guiding technology on behalf of Iran. The Treasury Department froze U.S. assets belonging to the Iranian officials, Morteza Farasatpour and Rahim Ahmadi. The same was done for Chinese national Ruan Runling and three associated businesses, along with the Iranian company Matin Sanat Nik Andishan. The designations also make it illegal for U.S. banks, companies or citizens to do do business with them. UPI

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JEWISH FORMER US SENATOR FINALIST FOR FBI DIRECTOR
Joe Lieberman, a former independent senator from Connecticut, is one of four final candidates that US President Donald Trump is considering to lead the Federal Bureau of Investigation, White House officials confirmed on Wednesday. Trump fired the last FBI director, James Comey, last week, amid a bureau investigation into links between the Russian government and his 2016 presidential campaign. Affiliates of Comey now say he believes that Trump was trying to thwart the progress of that inquiry– a charge tantamount to obstruction of justice, an impeachable offense. Trump interviewed Lieberman personally on Wednesday afternoon. The former Connecticut senator– who identified as a Democrat before losing a primary in 2006 over his support for the Iraq War– said he was "surprised" when he was approached to discuss the job by the Trump administration. Jerusalem Post

PALESTINIANS DROP SETTLEMENT FREEZE AS PRECONDITION FOR TALKS
The United States has not asked for a settlement freeze and the Palestinians have dropped that demand as a precondition for talks with Israel, America’s new Ambassador David Friedman told the Hebrew daily Yisrael HaYom. “We have no demands for a settlement freeze and [Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas] Abu Mazen wants to meet [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu without any preconditions,” Friedman said in an interview published on Wednesday. He spoke in advance of US President Donald Trump’s May 22-23 visit to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. During his trip, Trump won’t unveil a specific “diplomatic plan” or a “road map,” Friedman said.  Jerusalem Post

Israel Says Ties With US Unaffected After Trump-Lavrov Accusations
Israel says ties with the US have not been damaged by claims President Donald Trump gave Russia sensitive information provided by Israeli intelligence.
"Israel has full confidence in our intelligence-sharing relationship with the United States," Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer said. The White House is refusing to comment on reports that Israel was the source of the intelligence. Mr Trump has defended his right to share sensitive material on terrorism. Is Trump allowed to spill secrets? White House drowned out shouting using TVs US media reports said he had shared material that was passed on by a partner that had not given permission. It allegedly happened during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the White House. BBC

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny Steps Down As Fine Gael Leader
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has stood down as leader of Fine Gael. He will continue as taoiseach (prime minister) until the Dáil (parliament) chooses a successor. Mr Kenny, who was elected taoiseach in 2011, tendered his resignation in March, but has been acting prime minister since then. He told a parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday that a successor would be appointed by 2 June. Political profile: From bust to boom to Brexit. Who will succeed Enda Kenny? The 66-year-old had been under pressure to resign from factions within his own party that were dissatisfied with his leadership. BBC

Sheriff Who Likened Black Lives Matter To KKK To Join Trump Administration
The controversial Milwaukee County sheriff, David Clarke, who has compared Black Lives Matter to the Ku Klux Klan, has said he is joining the Trump administration as a point person between federal government and local and state law enforcement. Clarke broke the news of his appointment on the local Wisconsin radio station 1130 WISN Radio. The move brings to an end a long courtship between Trump and the sheriff, who acted as a surrogate for the Republican nominee on the campaign trail last year and was one of few African American speakers at the Republican national convention, at which he proclaimed “blue lives matter” in homage to police officers. Guardian
VOA VIEW:  Clarke spoke conservative.

What Barack Obama Really Thinks Of Donald Trump
The former US president made the assessment of the New York businessman following their first meeting together in November, two unnamed sources told People magazine. When asked whether Mr Obama’s opinion had changed in the four months since Mr Trump took office, one of the sources said to be close to Mr Obama said: “Well, it hasn’t gotten any better.” Mr Trump, who had previously described himself as Mr Obama's "worst nightmare," said during the meeting following his election victory that Mr Obama was "a very, very good man". He professed his “respect” and “admiration” for Mr Obama. Mr Obama himself described having had "an excellent conversation" with then president-elect Trump. One of the sources told People: “He’s deeply concerned with what he’s seen. But he’s also optimistic and heartened that citizens aren’t just watching it happen but engaging with neighbors and elected representatives at town halls.” The former president has been careful not to criticise Mr Trump publicly since he left office. Telegraph
VOA VIEW: Obama is an idiot.

Global Health Improving But Challenges Remain
This year's edition of the World Health Statistics review provides a snapshot of gains and threats to people's health all over the globe. Gathered using data from 194 Member States on more than 20 health-related sustainable development goal targets, the report compares how far countries have come – or not – so far this millennium. The statistics reveal plenty of progress towards combating HIV, in anti-malarial net distribution, antenatal care and sanitation. It's not such good news on tuberculosis however; the latest global data suggests more than 10.4 million new TB cases and 1.4 million deaths in 2015. This treatable and curable disease is a major problem, especially in Africa, where access to diagnosis and treatment is to blame, but also in the former Soviet states of Eastern Europe. UN News

"Massive Investment" Needed In International Cooperation
A "massive investment" is needed in international cooperation to ensure that diverse modern societies are a success, the UN chief said on Wednesday. Secretary-General António Guterres was addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, where he told representatives from the continent's 27 nations that a strong and united Europe was a "fundamental pillar" of a "strong and effective" UN. Matthew Wells reports. Mr Guterres said that there was a major trust deficit today, between people and the governments that serve them, including international organizations like the UN. Part of this was due to growing inequality he said, noting that eight people between them control as much wealth as half the global population. UN News

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