NEWS   FRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER  1, 2017   NEWS

Harvey Devastation Ups Pressure On Congress To Extend, Fix Flood Insurance Program
Hurricane Harvey’s devastation has left Texas Gulf Coast residents dealing with a historic cleanup – and increased pressure on Congress to extend the federal program that underwrites flood insurance policies. The National Flood Insurance Program’s authorization is due to expire Sept. 30 – which is also the deadline for Congress to pass a new government funding extension. Unless lawmakers extend the program, it won’t be able to offer new policies. Existing policies also could be in some jeopardy following Harvey, as the program is likely to hit its $30 billion borrowing limit. The situation has renewed calls to not just reauthorize the program but fix it.
Fox
VOA VIEW: This means more deficit spending for taxpayers.

Trump To Donate $1 Million To Texas Recovery
President Donald Trump will donate $1 million of his fortune to recovery efforts in Texas, though the White House says he hasn't determined which group or groups will receive the contribution. "He would like to join in the efforts that a lot of people we have seen across the country do," press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at the White House, saying the funds would come from the President's "personal money." CNN
VOA VIEW: No other president has been as generous.

Ivanka Trump Supports Ending Obama-Era Equal Pay Data Collection Rule
The Trump administration has announced that it is ending an Obama-era rule on gender gap wage data collection, a move supported by Ivanka Trump. In a memo sent earlier this week, the Office of Management and Budget informed the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that it was initiating a review and immediate stay of a form that required businesses with over 100 employees to collect pay data by gender, race and ethnicity.  CNN
VOA VIEW: The gap data collection, Obama rule was dumb.

Trump Guts Budget For Obamacare Ads
The Trump administration will slash spending meant to help enroll people in Obamacare, making good on the president’s threat to let the law wither after Republicans failed to repeal it earlier this year. Arguing that the promotional spending was ineffective, the Health and Human Services department will cut the sign-up advertising budget to $10 million for 2018 coverage from $100 million for this year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in a statement.  Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: The budget should be dropped to "0" dollars.

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Houston Rescuers Start Block-By-Block Search Of Homes Flooded By Tropical Storm Harvey
Firefighters in the nation's fourth-largest city began a block-by-block search Thursday of tens of thousands of flooded Houston homes to look for anyone who may have been left behind in floodwaters spawned by Tropical Storm Harvey. The city's assistant fire chief, Richard Mann, said his department would ensure "no people were left behind," as the official death toll from the storm climbed to at least 31. . Fox

Kushners’ China Deal Flop Was Part Of Much Bigger Hunt For Cash
Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser, wakes up each morning to a growing problem that will not go away. His family’s real estate business, Kushner Cos., owes hundreds of millions of dollars on a 41-story office building on Fifth Avenue. It has failed to secure foreign investors, despite an extensive search, and its resources are more limited than generally understood. As a result, the company faces significant challenges. Over the past two years, executives and family members have sought substantial overseas investment from previously undisclosed places: South Korea’s sovereign-wealth fund, France’s richest man, Israeli banks and insurance companies, and exploratory talks with a Saudi developer, according to former and current executives. These were in addition to previously reported attempts to raise money in China and Qatar. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: The truth is ...

Mattis Begins Sending Additional Troops To Afghanistan
The Pentagon has begun sending additional troops to Afghanistan to carry out President Donald Trump's new war strategy, which will stick to his predecessor's approach of supporting the Afghans' fight against the Taliban rather than doing the fighting for them, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday. "Yes, I've signed orders, but it's not complete," Mattis told reporters in an impromptu news conference at the Pentagon. He would not say how many additional troops are deploying or what their exact roles will be. ABC News

Govs. Kasich, Hickenlooper Propose Bipartisan Plan For Health Care Changes
In the wake of Republicans failing to pass their Obamacare replacement plan this summer, two governors say they have a plan to fix the health insurance markets that already has bipartisan support from other governors. Today, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper sent a joint plan, titled "Blueprint for Stronger Health Insurance Markets," to Congressional leaders. "The current state of our individual market is unsustainable and we can all agree this is a problem that needs to be fixed," the letter states. ABC News

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Gallup: 41.5% Think Media Favor Democrats, 13.5% Say Republicans
According to a recent Gallup poll, more Americans say news media generally favor Democrats (41.5%), than say news media generally favor Republicans (13.5%). Indeed, when asked "which political party do you think the news media generally favor – [ROTATED: Republicans (or) Democrats?" 63 percent of American adults said they think the news media generally favor one political party over the other or both. CNS
VOA VIEW: The liberal media is the number one fault and problem with the US.

Rep. Gohmert To GOP Leaders: ‘We’ve Had The Majority’ And ‘You Haven’t Let Us Hold Anybody Accountable’
House Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), an Army veteran and former chief justice of the 12th Court of Appeals, said it was the House Republican leadership that held a conference call in October 2016 advising Republicans to reject presidential candidate Donald Trump and do all they could to save themselves and the GOP majority to hold a future President Hillary Clinton “accountable.” Gohmert added that, during the call, he said the House Republican leadership had not held anyone in the Obama administration accountable and therefore would not hold Clinton accountable. “You haven’t let us hold anybody accountable,” Gohmert told the GOP leadership. “What makes you think, all of a sudden out of the blue, we’re going to hold Hillary Clinton accountable?” CNS
VOA VIEW: Republicans, including Gohmert better wake up.

Major Texas Ports Remain Mostly Closed Owing To Storm Harvey
Most main ports in Texas were closed on Thursday nearly a week after Harvey, the most powerful hurricane to hit the state in half a century, battered the heart of the U.S. energy industry. The storm paralyzed the Houston area, forcing operators to shut refineries, pipelines and ports crucial to moving crude oil and products around the region and globally. On Thursday, the U.S. Coast Guard said that it was reopening the Port of Corpus Christi for vessels up to 43 feet draft, while the port said the ship channel was also reopening with certain restrictions.  Reuters

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Manafort Notes From Russian Refer To Political Contributions
Paul Manafort's notes from a controversial Trump Tower meeting with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign included a mention of political contributions near a reference to the Republican National Committee, two sources briefed on the evidence told NBC News. The contents of the note, which have not been previously disclosed, elevated the significance of the June 2016 meeting for congressional investigators, who are focused on determining whether it included any discussion of donations from Russian sources to either the Trump campaign or the Republican Party. NBC News
VOA VIEW: Again, the truth is ...

Trump Wall Moves Forward With Firms Tapped For Designs
The Department of Homeland Security took a critical step Thursday toward building the wall promised by President Donald Trump along the U.S. southern border. Officials of Customs and Border Protection announced they've awarded contracts to four companies that will build different prototypes — individual examples of what the wall should look like. Once those sections are evaluated, the government will decide which design is best for building hundreds of miles of new barrier along the border with Mexico. The four companies each proposed concrete walls. DHS expects to announce contracts for four non-concrete wall prototypes next week. NBC
VOA VIEW: Good, the sooner the better.

U.S. Bombers Drill Over Korean Peninsula After Latest North Korea Launch
South Korean and Japanese jets joined exercises with two supersonic U.S. B-1B bombers above and near the Korean peninsula on Thursday, two days after North Korea sharply raised tension by firing a missile over Japan. The drills, involving four U.S. stealth F-35B jets as well as South Korean and Japanese fighter jets, came at the end of annual U.S.-South Korea military exercises focused mainly on computer simulations. ”North Korea’s actions are a threat to our allies, partners and homeland, and their destabilizing actions will be met accordingly,” said General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, Pacific Air Forces Commander, who made an unscheduled visit to Japan. “This complex mission clearly demonstrates our solidarity with our allies and underscores the broadening cooperation to defend against this common regional threat.” Reuters

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Hurricane Irma Becomes Category 3 Storm
Far out over the Atlantic, Hurricane Irma has turned into a Category 3 storm, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in its latest advisory. It poses no immediate threat to land. Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 115 mph with higher gusts. Irma is moving toward the west-northwest near 12 mph. This motion is expected to continue today, followed by a westward turn on Saturday, and a west-southwestward motion by Sunday. Irma formed along a course that could bring it near the eastern Caribbean Sea by early next week.. CBS News

Russia Has Until Saturday To Close 3 U.S. Diplomatic Offices, State Dept Says
Russia has until Saturday to close three diplomatic offices in Washington, D.C., New York City and San Francisco, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert announced Thursday, noting the "downward spiral" in U.S.-Russia relations. One of them is the San Francisco consulate – cutting Russia's total U.S. consulates from four to three. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had promised to respond to Russia's decision to expel 755 diplomatic personnel from the Kremlin by Sept. 1.  CBS News

Comey Drafted Announcement Closing Hillary Clinton Probe Before Key Witnesses Interviewed
Two Republican senators say they’ve reviewed evidence that indicates former FBI Director James B. Comey began drafting a statement to announce the closure of the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server months before key witnesses, including the former Democratic presidential candidate, were interviewed. Sen. Charles E. Grassley and Sen. Lindsey Graham wrote to FBI Director Chris Wray asking for information related to Mr. Comey’s announcement, saying they’ve reviewed partially redacted interview transcripts that indicate Mr. Comey was drafting a statement on the closure of the case months before the July 5, 2016, announcement. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Comey was an opportunist.

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Trump Claimed He Witnessed Harvey’s Devastation ‘First Hand.’ The White House Basically Admits He Didn’t.
President Trump clearly and unmistakably exaggerated the “horror and devastation” he witnessed in Texas. The White House's response? To pretend words don't mean what they mean. Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that he had seen this horror and devastation “first hand.”  Washington Post
VOA VIEW: The liberal media never givus up.

David A. Clarke Jr. Resigns As Milwaukee County Sheriff
Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., a vocal supporter of President Trump who came under scrutiny for the conditions in his jail, resigned Thursday, but his next move remains unclear. Clarke’s resignation will take effect at midnight, Milwaukee County Clerk George L. Christenson told The Washington Post. It’s unclear why Clarke resigned. A longtime adviser to the sheriff, Craig Peterson, told The Post that Clarke is unlikely to make any public comments until next week, after Labor Day. Asked if Clarke, a lifelong Milwaukee resident who served as sheriff since 2002, is considering a potential move out of the Milwaukee area, Peterson would say only, “Anything’s a potential.” Wasington Post

Mike Pence Accused Of Hypocrisy Over Harvey Recovery Comments
On Monday, as the damage wrought by tropical storm Harvey became increasingly apparent, the US vice-president, Mike Pence, made a promise to Houston residents. “What you’re going to see is the national government – and we anticipate the Congress – are going to make the resources available to see Texas through the rescue operation, through the recovery,” Pence told Houston’s KTRH radio station. It was a fairly standard statement from a politician during a crisis. Guardian

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Trump Moves To Restore Work Requirement For Welfare
The Trump administration moved Wednesday to reimpose work requirements for Americans on welfare, revoking an Obama-era policy that had urged states to apply for waivers exempting the poor from having to show they were either getting job training or looking for work. Requiring work was a key part of the 1996 welfare reform law enacted by a GOP-led Congress and signed by then-President Bill Clinton, and Mr. Trump’s move restores the law as written. “The waiver option offered by the Obama administration is being replaced today by an expectation that work should always be encouraged as a condition for receiving welfare,” said Steven Wagner, the Health and Human Services Department’s acting assistant secretary for children and families. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Good, the Obama change was a failure.

Mattis Goes On Offensive To Say He Backs Trump
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Thursday pushed back hard against reports that he is out of step with President Donald Trump — particularly on how to deal with North Korea — but also made clear his view that the commander-in-chief can be swayed to change his approach by a strong argument. Mattis has come under fire recently for a series of pronouncements in which he appeared to disagree with the president, over his North Korea strategy and the ban on transgender service members, which Mattis this week delayed pending a detailed review by a panel of experts using the authority Trump granted him. POLITICO

Netanyahu Vows To 'Give Back' South Tel Aviv To Israelis
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged Thursday to “give back” south Tel Aviv to Israeli residents by keeping out “illegal infiltrators” seeking asylum from war-torn Sudan and Eritrea who inhabit the beleaguered neighborhood. Accompanied by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Culture Minister Miri Regev, Netanyahu met with a select group of residents who accused the refugees of propagating the dismal conditions, before taking a brief tour of the dystopian area. However, longtime Israeli residents who attended a forcibly disbanded protest during the tour contend that the refugees living there are being scapegoated by the prime minister for an area long neglected by the city’s municipality. JPost

U.S. Issues Travel Alert For Europe
The United States on Thursday issued a travel alert for Americans heading to Europe. Citing recent attacks in France, the United Kingdom, Spain and other countries, the State Department said ISIS and its affiliates “have the ability to plan and execute terrorist attacks in Europe.” The State Department added that it “remains concerned about the potential for future terrorist attacks.” Earlier this month, ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack in Barcelona that killed 14 people. The U.S. is urging Americans to heed the advice of local officials and “be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.” Daily Beast

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