NEWS   THURSDAY, JUNE  29, 2017   NEWS

Susan Rice Suggests Race, Gender Bias Linked To 'Unmasking' Backlash
Susan Rice, the Obama national security adviser under fire over her alleged involvement in the “unmasking” of Trump associates during the 2016 presidential election, suggested in a fresh interview that race and gender might be playing a role in the scrutiny she’s faced. In an interview with journalist Michael Tomasky for New York Magazine, Rice reportedly questioned the criticism she’s faced dating back to the Benghazi controversy. Fox
VOA VIEW: Ignorance and illegality = race card.

President Trump Attacks Amazon On Twitter, Says It Doesn't Pay 'Internet Taxes'
In the latest clash between President Donald Trump and Jeff Bezos, Trump accused the Bezos-led Amazon of not paying taxes. "The #AmazonWashingtonPost, sometimes referred to as the guardian of Amazon not paying Internet taxes (which they should) is FAKE NEWS!," the president penned on Twitter. Amazon technically does not own The Washington Post. Bezos himself purchased the newspaper in 2013 for a reported $250 million. While it's unclear what "Internet tax" the president is referring to, Amazon does indeed collect sales taxes on items it sells on its platform. In the first quarter of 2017, Amazon paid $229 million in income taxes on approximately $1 billion in profits. Total revenue for the quarter was $35.71 billion. Amazon paid $475 million in income taxes on operating income of $1.07 billion. Fox
VOA VIEW: The truth is ...

Officials Struggle To Convince Trump That Russia Remains A Threat
As President Donald Trump lashes out at former President Barack Obama for failing to take a harder line against Russia for election meddling, Trump's own advisers are struggling to convince him that Russia still poses a threat, according to multiple senior administration officials. "I just heard today for the first time that Obama knew about Russia a long time before the election, and he did nothing about it," Trump told Fox News in an interview that aired Sunday. "To me -- in other words -- the question is, if he had the information, why didn't he do something about it? He should have done something about it." CNN
VOA VIEW: CNN is still on the Russia path - they are wrong.

The Trump White House Just Ramped Up Its War With The Media
Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders seemed to have a plan when she called on Breitbart News' Charlie Spiering first at Tuesday's briefing.
Spiering asked about the retraction of a Russia-related CNN story and the resignations of three staffers associated with it. Huckabee Sanders took that hanging curveball and swung for the fences. "I think that we have gone to a place where, if the media can't be trusted to report the news, then that's a dangerous place for America. And I think if that is the place certain outlets are going — particularly for the purpose of spiking ratings — and if that's coming directly from the top, I think that's even more scary." CNN
VOA VIEW: CNN tool a very deserving hit.

Australian Police Charge Vatican Cardinal With Sex Offenses
Australian police charged a top Vatican cardinal on Thursday with multiple counts of "historical" sexual assault offenses, a stunning decision certain to rock the highest levels of the Holy See. Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis' chief financial adviser and Australia's most senior Catholic, is the highest-ranking Vatican official to ever be charged in the church's long-running sexual abuse scandal. Pell said he would return to Australia to fight the charges. Victoria state Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said police have summonsed Pell to appear in an Australian court to face multiple charges of "historical sexual assault offenses," meaning offenses that generally occurred some time ago. Patton said there are multiple complainants against Pell, but gave no other details on the allegations against the cardinal. Pell was ordered to appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court on July 18. Philadelphia Inquirer

CNN Boss In Crosshairs If AT&T-Time Warner Mergr Approved
AT&T will look to “neutralize” CNN President Jeff Zucker after it buys Time Warner, The Post has learned. The buzz from the telecommunications giant comes as CNN is being slammed for highly publicized missteps — including botched reports tied to the federal probe of possible collusion between President Trump’s campaign and Russia, according to three sources familiar with the thinking of AT&T brass. The missteps, which also include a profane anti-Trump tweet by Reza Aslan, a CNN host, have made CNN too polarizing an asset for execs at the blue chip company, a source said. Aslan saw his CNN show, “Believer,” get canceled in the wake of the tweet. NY Post
VOA VIEW: No CNN would be great.

Pentagon Plan To Defeat ISIS Looks Very Much Like Obama’s Approach
The Pentagon is putting the final touches on a promised new counter-Islamic State strategy for Syria and Iraq, and it looks very much like the one the Obama administration pursued, according to senior defense officials. The core of the strategy is to deny territory to the militants and ultimately defeat them, and to stay out of Syria’s civil war pitting the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, Iran and Russia against domestic opposition forces. The two fights in that country have come into increasingly close proximity in recent months, and there have been clashes. Military officials from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on down have emphasized in recent days that they are not looking for a fight with the regime or the Iranians. That has put them at odds with White House officials who have expressed concern about Iranian expansion across a new battlefield in Syria’s southern desert. Washington Post

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Hoyer Agrees: Obama Administration Made ‘Very Serious Mistake’ In Not Revealing Russian Interference Earlier In 2016
In a press briefing on Tuesday, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said he agreed with his colleague Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) that the Obama administration made a “very serious mistake” in not telling the American people about Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election until after that election.
At the briefing on Capitol Hill, CNSNews.com asked Rep. Hoyer, “Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said on CNN on Sunday that the Obama administration learned of Russian interference in the election in August 2016 but didn't reveal it until after the election and this ‘was a very serious mistake.’  Do you agree with Rep. Schiff?” Hoyer said,  “I agree with Schiff.” “It was clear that the Obama administration was faced with a tough decision,” said Hoyer. “They thought Hillary Clinton was going to win the election and I think the president was reluctant to be perceived as trying to put his hand on the scale through the intelligence committee.” CNS
VOA VIEW: Obama made a purpose mistake.

Trump: No Choice But To Solve Health Care; McConnell: No Negotiation With Dems
"We really have no choice but to solve this situation," President Trump said Tuesday at the start of his meeting with Senate Republicans, all invited to the White House on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the way forward on health care. "So we're going to talk and we're going to see what we can do," Trump said. "We're getting very close. But for the country, we have to have health care. And it can't be Obamacare, which is melting down." “Either Republicans will agree and change the status quo; or the markets will continue to collapse and we'll have to sit down with Sen. Schumer, and my suspicion is that any negotiation with the Democrats would include none of the reforms that we would like to make, both on the market side and the Medicaid side. So for all of those reasons, we need to come up with a solution. The American people elected us to do that. And we're working hard to get there.” CNS

Widespread Uncertainty As U.S. Travel Ban Start Looms
One day before President Donald Trump's temporary ban on all refugees and travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries is scheduled to take effect, there is still widespread uncertainty about how the administration will implement it. The confusion follows a U.S. Supreme Court decision on Monday that allowed the long-delayed executive order to take effect, but significantly narrowed its scope. It exempted travelers and refugees who have a "bona fide relationship" with a person or entity in the United States. Reuters
VOA VIEW: The liberals and anti Trump  followers lost.

U.S. Unveils Enhanced Airline Security Plan To Avoid Laptop Ban
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Wednesday unveiled enhanced security measures for foreign flights arriving in the United States in what officials said was a move that aims to end a limited in-cabin ban on laptops and other large electronic devices and prevent its expansion to additional airports. The new security measures, which European and U.S. officials said would begin taking effect within three weeks, could prompt additional screening time for the 325,000 airline passengers arriving in the United States daily. Reuters

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Trump Compliments Reporter’s ‘Nice Smile’ During Call With Irish Prime Minister
President Donald Trump interrupted his phone call with the prime minister of Ireland to beckon over a reporter and compliment her “nice smile.” Trump began his phone call with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Tuesday morning in the Oval Office by congratulating the new leader on his “great victory” before turning his attention to a female reporter in the room. “Well, we have a lot of your Irish press watching us. They're just now leaving the room. And where are you from?” Trump said during the call, pointing at reporter Caitríona Perry, the Washington Correspondent and U.S. Bureau Chief for Ireland's state public-service broadcaster RTÉ News. MSNBC

Time Asks Donald Trump’s Golf Clubs To Remove Phony Magazine Cover
Although Donald Trump has repeatedly appeared on the cover of Time Magazine in the last year, the company is asking that a framed cover image of Trump be taken down from the walls of several golf clubs. That's because the cover hanging in several Trump Organization clubs is a phony, a Time spokesperson confirmed to NBC News. The March 1, 2009, cover was first identified as fake by The Washington Post in a story published on Tuesday, and several markers give away that the cover isn’t genuine. MSNBC
VOA VIEW: Liberal media with nothing important to report.

DHS Warns Of Airplane Threats, Demands Tougher Screening At Foreign Airports
Homeland Security officials sounded a major alarm Wednesday about the world’s airlines, revealing a “web of threats” they said prove terrorists remain determined to attack aircraft flying into the U.S. — and announcing a new round of increased screening for inbound passengers. Secretary John F. Kelly decided against expanding the current laptop ban, which applies to 10 foreign airports, instead arguing that enhanced screening worldwide can improve safety without resorting to the painful step of making passengers forgo their large electronics while sitting in the cabin. Washington Times

Sally Yates Gives Detailed Account Of Events That Led To Her Firing
Sally Yates’ 10 days leading the Justice Department this January were incredibly eventful ones, as we’ve detailed here in the past. The Georgia native has made a few public appearances since then, including a starring role in a blockbuster hearing before a Senate panel last month and a speech to Harvard Law School’s graduating class. She’s also given interviews ruling out a run for Georgia governor in 2018. Yates is in Aspen, Colo., this week for the Aspen Ideas Festival, an annual confab in which “leaders from around the globe … engage in deep and inquisitive discussion of the ideas and issues that both shape our lives and challenge our times,” according to the event’s website. During a panel event yesterday, Yates gave one of the most detailed accounts yet of the events that led to her firing by the Trump administration for refusing to enforce the president’s executive order putting the country’s refugee program on hold. Atlanta Journal
VOA VIEW: Yates is a loser getting direction from the liberal media.

Prince William, Harry To Rededicate Princess Diana's Grave On Her Birthday
In honor of what would have been Princess Diana’s 56th birthday, her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, have announced that they will lead a special, private ceremony to rededicate her grave, E! News reports. “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry will attend a private service to rededicate the grave of Diana, Princess of Wales at Althorp House on Saturday 1 July,” a Kensington Palace spokesperson said, according to News.com.au. “The service, which will fall on what would have been The Princess’s birthday, will be conducted by The Archbishop of Canterbury and attended by her family.” he Spencer family plans to attend the ceremony, in addition to Prince William, Prince Harry, Duchess Kate, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. The rededication comes just before the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death and follows major renovations made to the estate, including an extensive redesign to The Oval, an island in the lake where Princess Diana is buried. Atlnata Journal

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Paul Manafort, Former Trump Campaign Chairman, Registers As Foreign Agent
President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, has registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for political consulting work he did for a Ukrainian political party, acknowledging that he coached party members on how to interact with U.S. government officials. Manafort says in a Justice Department filing Tuesday that his firm, DMP International, received more than $17 million from the Party of Regions, the former pro-Russian ruling party in Ukraine, for consulting work from 2012 through 2014. Washington Times

Solid Majority Of Americans Disapprove Of Trump’s Job Performance
A solid majority of Americans continue to disapprove of President Trump's job performance, according to a host of recent opinion surveys. A NPR/PBS/Marist poll released Wednesday found 38 percent of registered voters approve of the president's job performance, while 53 percent disapprove.  (That survey also had some interesting findings on the public view of Republican efforts to overturn Obamacare.) In an Economist/YouGov survey also released on Wednesday, 42 percent of registered voters said they approve of the job Mr. Trump is doing as president, while 53 percent said they disapprove. CBS
VOA VIEW: It's getting harder and harder to believe in the liberal media.

Bernie Sanders Defends Wife From Investigation, Fires Back At Her Accuser
Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, of Vermont on Tuesday defended his wife, Jane Sanders, former president of now-defunct Burlington College, from bank fraud allegations over a $10-million loan application sought by Ms. Sanders in 2011 to purchase 33 acres of land for the liberal arts institution. "My wife is about the most honest person I know," Sanders said to anchor Erin Burnett on CNN. "When she came to that college, it was failing financially and academically. When she left it, it was in better shape than it had ever been."  Jane Sanders left the college in 2011, after having served as president for seven years. CBS
VOA VIEW: Sanders lied - Jane Sanders was very toxic.

South Korea To Buy American Gas, Build New Factories In US
South Korean companies announced Thursday plans to import more American shale gas and build new factories in the U.S. as the two countries' leaders prepare to hold summit talks in Washington where trade is expected to be a key issue. The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, South Korea's largest business association, said Thursday that major South Korean companies had proposed a slew of new investments ahead of President Moon Jae-in's meetings Friday with President Donald Trump.
South Korean businesses are highlighting investments and other plans that will help create jobs in the U.S. as the Asian country fends off criticism over a growing trade imbalance in its favor. Electronics conglomerate Samsung Electronics said earlier this week it plans to spend $380 million to build a new home appliance factory in South Carolina. It also will spend $1.5 billion on its semiconductor plant in Texas. LG Electronics said it will put $250 million into building a new washing machine plant in Tennessee and $300 million on a new building in New Jersey. Houston Chronicle

There Is No Known Limit To How Long Humans Can Live
Back in October, a controversial study made waves by suggesting that, for the most part, human beings had a natural limit on their lifespans that ended at 115 years. Now, the same academic journal that published the study has released five different studies arguing the exact opposite. Three researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine argued last year in “Nature” that while exceptions will persist — the oldest verified person in history, Jeanne Calment, died in 1997 at 122 — we’ve essentially reached the ceiling of how long the human body can function. Charlotte Observer

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US Plans To Construct Up To 8 Border Wall Prototypes This Summer
Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the agency implementing the border wall construction process, is planning for the construction of four to eight wall prototypes in San Diego "later this summer," said CBP Acting Deputy Commissioner Ronald Vitiello Tuesday. "We're leaning on industry to innovate and to use other materials to show us what they think is possible, doable and innovative for this purpose," said Vitiello. CBP has entered "phase two" of the process, and is currently reviewing and evaluating proposals for wall prototypes, but no contracts have been awarded yet. On March 17, CBP issued two separate requests for proposals from companies for wall prototypes -- one for "reinforced concrete" and one for "alternative materials." ABC

Obama And Family Head From Bali To Java On Indonesian Holiday
Former U.S. President Barack Obama and his family wrapped up a five-day vacation on Indonesia's resort island of Bali and headed to the historic city of Yogyakarta on Wednesday during a nostalgic trip to the country, where Obama lived for several years as a child. Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and their daughters, Malia and Sasha, arrived on a private jet at the city's military airport, said Indonesian air force base commander Air Vice Marshal Novyan Samyoga. Samyoga said the family looked relaxed and smiled at onlookers who greeted them with cheers. ABC

China Pledges Continued Assistance To Philippines
China's foreign minister has told his Philippine counterpart that Beijing is ready to provide more aid to the Southeast Asian country as ties between the former antagonists improve. The relationship has increasingly overshadowed the Philippines' longstanding ties with the United States. Beijing this week donated emergency aid, sniper rifles and other weaponry to help the Philippine military drive out Muslim rebels who overran the southern city of Marawi. At a news conference Thursday in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the sides would "continue to improve our mutual trust and control our differences so as to maintain the peace and stability of the South China Sea." The two countries have overlapping territorial claims in the strategic waterbody and feuded bitterly under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's predecessor, Benigno Aquino III. Tampa Tribune

Trump Accuses Democrats Of Lying About Medicaid Cuts
President Trump accused Democrats of lying about the projected Medicaid cuts in the Republican health care plan, but they didn't. They're just counting different things.
As Senate leadership struggles to find on a way forward for the controversial health care plan after coming up short of the votes it needed to pass before July 4 recess, Trump defended the proposal, tweeting that "Democrats purposely misstated Medicaid under new Senate bill - actually goes up." While Trump's correct that the overall Medicaid budget would continue to rise under the GOP plan, the spending increase Trump is touting is far less than what's projected under current law. The independent Congressional Budget Office estimates the Senate Republican plan would hack $772 billion from projected spending under Obamacare from 2018 and 2026. The projections take into account policies that would be changed by the bill, as well as factors such as how much the population is expected to grow and age, and how quickly medical costs are rising. USA Today
VOA VIEW: It is about time there is a person powerful enough to beat the liberal media.

Married To Jesus: Women Make Lifelong Virginity Pledge
It was any bride's dream wedding — a packed church, a beautiful white dress and a palpable feeling of excitement and love. But what made Saturday's ceremony at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament really special was the groom: Jesus. Three women from metro Detroit were the first to become consecrated virgins in the Archdiocese of Detroit. The little-known vocation involves a commitment to lifelong chastity. Laurie Malashanko of Plymouth, Karen Ervin of Northville and Theresa Jordan of Dearborn Heights are now, in the words of Catholic canon law, "mystically betrothed to Christ." Unlike nuns, they are not part of a religious order. They will continue to work regular jobs and financially support themselves, while being steadfastly dedicated to serving the church. USA Today

Trump Holds Trump Fundraiser At Trump Hotel -- Benefiting Trump
President Donald Trump plans to kick off his 2020 re-election fundraising with a $35,000-a-plate event at his Washington hotel Wednesday, a gathering that stands to benefit his business as well as his political aims. Because Trump has retained an ownership interest in the Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. -- along with an array of other businesses -- holding a campaign event there promotes the property via his political prominence and raises questions about self-dealing, some critics said. Bloomberg

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SKorean Leader Starts Visit With Marine Tribute
South Korea's president has begun a U.S. visit with an emotional tribute to Marines who fought in one of the fiercest battles of the Korean War that helped in the mass evacuation of Korean civilians, including his own parents. President Moon Jae-in (MOON JAAH IHN) laid a wreath at a Marines base in Quantico, Virginia. A monument there marks the 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, when heavily outnumbered American forces bought time for about 100,000 Korean civilians to be shipped out to safety. Moon said that had it not been for their sacrifice, "my life would not have begun as it has and I would not be here today." He was born in 1953 in South Korea. Las Vegas Sun

House Panel Seeks Pentagon Climate Change Review
The Republican-led House Armed Services Committee has approved a measure declaring climate change "a direct threat to national security." But the measure, crafted by Rep. Jim Langevin, a Rhode Island Democrat, won GOP backing because it only requires the Pentagon to deliver a report to Congress that assesses the impact of global warming on the U.S. military. The report would list the 10 military bases most vulnerable to the effects of rising oceans, increased flooding, wildfires and other effects. Lawmakers voted to include Langevin's amendment in the annual defense policy bill that still has to be considered by the full House. Las Vegas Sun

North Korea Warns US, Rest Of The World It Will Keep Building Up Nuclear Arsenal
North Korea’s U.N. ambassador warned the United States and the rest of the world Wednesday that his country will keep building up its nuclear arsenal regardless of sanctions, pressure or military attack. Kim In Ryong told the U.N. Security Council that the more than 50-year confrontation between North Korea and the United States came closer to the brink of nuclear war than ever before when the U.S. military held what he called its largest-ever “aggressive” maneuvers with South Korea in April and May. Since then, he said, the United States has sent B-1B nuclear bombers into South Korean airspace, deployed the THAAD anti-missile system in the country, imposed new U.S. sanctions against North Korea, and spearheaded another U.N. sanctions resolution. NY Post
VOA VIEW: North Korea must be neutralized.

Russia Wages War Of Words With Britain Over Navy Pride
Moscow has angrily lashed out at a dismissive comment about a Russian aircraft carrier made by Britain's defense secretary, arguing that its aging ship is better than the new British carrier. Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said earlier this week that Russia will look at the British aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, with envy, pointing at Russia's "dilapidated" Admiral Kuznetsov carrier. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov fired back Thursday, arguing that unlike the British ship that relies on escort ships for protection, the Russian carrier can stand by itself with an array of offensive and defensive weapons. He dismissed the British carrier as just a "conveniently large sea target" that should stay close to U.S. protection. Tampa Tribune

GOP Senators Aim To Have Re-Worked Health Bill Ready By Friday
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is planning to give a revised version of the Republicans' embattled healthcare plan to independent government analysts no later than Friday, aides and GOP officials said Wednesday. Senior party officials in the chamber said Wednesday that Senate Republicans have been asked to reach a compromise on the Better Care Reconciliation Act by Friday -- and that a procedural vote on the bill will occur immediately after Congress' July 4 recess. UPI

Trump Trashes Media, Cheers Wins At $10 Million Fundraiser
Republican donors paid $35,000 apiece to hear familiar a message from President Donald Trump: The media, particularly CNN, keep trying to take him down, and yet Republicans just keep on winning elections. He noted with pride that his party had won four special elections this year. The president was whisked a few blocks from the White House to the Trump International Hotel, his name-branded Washington venue, for an evening of hobnobbing behind closed doors Wednesday with major party financiers, including Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn. One attendee stood out: Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, part of a small group of Republicans whose objections just a day earlier had doomed — at least for now — the Senate's effort to repeal and replace President Barack Obama's health care law. Houston Chronicle
VOA VIEW: Heller better get his act together.

UK Government To Rule On MurdochTakeover Deal
Britain's culture secretary will rule Thursday on whether Twenty-First Century Fox can take full control of the Sky pay television and broadband network in an 11.7 billion pound ($15.2 billion) deal critics say would give Rupert Murdoch too much power in U.K. media. Murdoch's media group is trying to buy the 61 percent of Sky it doesn't already own, giving Twenty-First Century Fox easy access to Sky's 22 million customers in the U.K., Ireland, Austria, Germany and Italy. Culture Secretary Karen Bradley is scheduled to release her decision later Thursday, announcing whether she has cleared the deal or referred it to competition regulators for further review. Charlotte Observer

State Law Invalidated Miami Beach’s Proposed Medical Marijuana Zoning
After state lawmakers passed legislation governing Florida’s medical marijuana industry this month, local zoning regulations for dispensaries being considered in Miami Beach have stalled. The new state regulations pre-empt local governments from regulating medical cannabis dispensaries any more than they regulate pharmacies, blowing a hole in the zoning plans of Miami-Dade County and Miami Beach. The only other option for cities is to totally ban medical marijuana retail outlets. Beach commissioners had given initial approval to regulations allowing one dispensary in each of the city’s main sections (South, Middle and North Beach) with restrictive zoning allowing such businesses to open only in certain commercial areas. The county had set up buffer zones separating dispensaries from each other and residential properties. Miami Herald

'He Was Born This Way': Shkreli's Attorney Offers Defense As Securities Fraud Trial Opens
Martin Shkreli is odd, his attorney told a federal court on Wednesday. The former hedge-fund manager's investors and colleagues made fun of him behind his back and wondered whether he was autistic. Some questioned his sexuality, the jury was told. "Is he strange? Yes. Will you find him weird? Yes," said Shkreli attorney Benjamin Brafman. "But [his investors] used his genius and made millions. . . . Despite his flaws and dysfunctional personality, Martin Shkreli is brilliant beyond words." SF Gate

Ann Coulter Shreds Sean Hannity: 'He Would Endorse Communism' If Trump Did
Conservative provocateur Ann Coulter slammed Sean Hannity in a blistering column on Wednesday, saying the Fox News commentator "would endorse communism" if Donald Trump did. "Sean Hannity, bless his heart, has the zeal of the late Trump convert," Coulter wrote in the column on her website. "He would endorse communism if Trump decided to implement the policies of 'The Communist Manifesto.'" The two firebrands have been feuding since last week, when Coulter accused Hannity of censoring from his show her comments about Trump's relationship with Goldman Sachs. SF Gate
VOA VIEW: Hannity is a suck up.

Chicago Cubs Hang Out In Oval Office With Donald Trump
Joe Maddon and the Chicago Cubs filled the Oval Office Wednesday, showing their World Series trophy and giving a custom jersey to President Donald Trump. The meeting was a bit untraditional, as the Cubs already celebrated their 2016 World Series title in January with President Barack Obama. Chicago is in town for a four-game series against the Washington Nationals. "I think the president just knew that we all were going to be here going to baseball games and thought it would be fun to come up and have an unofficial visit with the team," Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts told the Chicago Sun-Times. Ricketts described the visit as "unofficial." The meeting was reportedly closed to the press, but some photographers managed to find their way in the room. UPI

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Yes, Your Parents' Status Does Influence Your Earning Power
"If you’re born poor, you die poor," a U.K. politician lamented six years ago. Sadly, little has changed. Britain is joined by the U.S., France and Italy in having a high correlation between parents' earnings and those of their children, according to a report by Standard Life Investments. The relationship also exists in Scandinavian economies as well as Australia, Germany and Canada, but to a lesser extent. That's creating challenges for the most-affected countries. Such societies tend to waste or misallocate human capital; workers are often less motivated and as a result, less productive; and the associated higher levels of inequality are found to be detrimental to economic growth, the research shows. "In practically all countries for which evidence is available, there is a clear link between what your parents earned and your own earnings prospects,'' said Jeremy Lawson, chief economist at Standard Life and a lead author of the report. "Addressing low mobility is challenging. There is no global silver bullet, with each country facing issues in its own unique institutional and policy environment.'' Bloomberg

ARIEL WILL ALWAYS REMAIN PART OF ISRAEL, PM VOWS
Israel is building in Ariel, and it will always remain a part of Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged in the settlement on Wednesday during the cornerstone-laying ceremony for a new medical center at Ariel University. Netanyahu said the center, named after the donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, will attract the “best teachers and researchers, and will train generations of students who will add prestige to Israeli medicine, and add to Israel’s prestige in the world.” Jerusalem Post

MORTAR FALLS ON GOLAN WHILE NETANYAHU DELIVERS SPEECH NEARBY
An errant mortar shell fell in an open area in the northern Golan Heights on Wednesday evening, at the same time that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Katzrin at a ceremony marking the town's 40th anniversary. The IDF spokesman said that the IDF targeted the Syrian military position that fired the mortar. This was the third day this week that the IDF has responded to mortar shells that landed in the Golan from the fighting taking place between Syrian rebel forces and the army of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Soon after the mortar fire and the IDF response, Netanyahu said in Katzrin what he has said repeatedly over the last week, that Israel will not tolerate a “spillover” of the fighting in Syria into Israel, and will respond to every incident of fire on Israel. Jerusalem Post

Syria Took US Chemical Attack Warning Seriously
Syria's government appears to have taken a US warning not to launch a chemical weapons attack seriously, Defence Secretary James Mattis says. The White House said similar activities had been seen at an airbase before the nerve agent Sarin was allegedly dropped on rebel-held Khan Sheikhoun in April. President Bashar al-Assad's military would "pay a very heavy price" if an attack took place, it warned. Damascus dismissed the allegation, but Gen Mattis noted: "They didn't do it." Mr Assad has said the incident in Khan Sheikhoun, which activists say killed more than 80 people and prompted a retaliatory US missile strike, was a "fabrication". BBC

Qatar Condemns Saudi Refusal To Negotiate Over Demands
Qatar's foreign minister has condemned its Gulf neighbours for refusing to negotiate over their demands for restoring air, sea and land links. Sheikh Mohammed al-Thani said the stance was "contrary to the principles" of international relations. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt accuse Qatar of aiding terrorism - a charge it denies. It has been presented with a list of demands that the Saudi foreign minister on Tuesday called "non-negotiable". The restrictions have caused turmoil in Qatar, an oil- and gas-rich nation that is dependent on imports to meet the basic needs of its population of 2.7 million. BBC

Sniper's Record Kill Shot In Iraq 'Should Be Celebrated', Trudeau Says
A record-shattering lethal shot fired by a Canadian sniper in Iraq has reignited a longstanding debate over Canada’s role in the region, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau telling reporters it was “entirely consistent” with the country’s non-combat mission and should be celebrated. Last week, the defence department confirmed reports that a Canadian sniper had shot an Isis militant from 3,540 metres (2 miles) away. The shot surpassed the previous world military record for the longest confirmed kill – held by a British sniper who took aim at a Taliban fighter in 2009 – by more than a kilometre. Guardian

Donald Trump To Visit Paris For Bastille Day Ceremonies
Donald Trump will attend France’s Bastille Day celebrations in Paris on 14 July, after accepting an invitation from the French president, Emmanuel Macron. Macron’s office said on Wednesday that the US president would attend the traditional Paris military parade as part of the commemoration marking the 100th anniversary of the entry of the United States into the first world war. US troops will join French soldiers in the annual display of military might on the Champs Elysées. Trump’s Paris visit will be his first trip to France since he became US president. The two men met for the first time in Brussels last month, with a notorious white-knuckle handshake which the French president later said “wasn’t innocent” and was meant to show he wouldn’t “let anything pass”. Guardian

Moscow Prepares Retaliation For US Seizure Of Russian Diplomatic Compounds
Moscow is preparing retaliatory measures to Washington's decision to seize two Russian diplomatic compounds in the United States in 2016, Russia's foreign ministry spokeswoman said on Wednesday. In December, the  US seized two Russian diplomatic compounds as then President Barack Obama ordered the expulsion of 35 Russians over what he said was their involvement in hacking to interfere in the U.S. presidential election campaign. Moscow, which denies such allegations, did not retaliate immediately, saying it would wait to see if relations improved under President Donald Trump. Telegraph

‘Inclusive, Equitable And Quality Education’ At The Heart Of High-Level UN Event
Education leaders from around the world convened today at the United Nations to discuss ways to advance action on Sustainable Development Goal 4, which aims to “ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.” “Inclusive, equitable and quality education goes to the heart of the 2030 Agenda as a key enabler of sustainable development,” said Peter Thomson, President of the General Assembly, in his opening remarks at the High-level SDG Action Event on Education. Mr. Thomson pointed out that education taps the Earth’s greatest asset, namely the inherent potential of the world’s people. UN News

International Cooperation Key To Keeping WMDs Away From Terrorists, Security Council Told
The United Nations disarmament chief today called for stronger international cooperation to prevent terrorists from accessing and using weapons of mass destruction, warning that technological advances – such as unmanned aerial vehicles, 3-D printers and the Dark Web – make it easier for terrorist groups to effectively use such weapons. “The possibility of non-State actors, including terrorists, acquiring weapons of mass destruction remains a significant threat to global security, and the international community must step up its efforts to ensure that the disastrous scenario of WMD terrorism is avoided,” Izumi Nakamitsu, the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, told the Security Council in an open date on the topic. UN News

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