NEWS   SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER  2, 2017   NEWS

Hurricane Irma Expected To Strengthen In Atlantic Ocean This Weekend
Powerful Hurricane Irma is expected to strengthen over the eastern Atlantic Ocean during the weekend -- potentially becoming as potent as a Category 5 storm as it whirls its way towards a possible landfall. Irma formed and strengthened to a Category 3 storm on Thursday and was forecast to be an “extremely dangerous” storm for the next several days, according to The National Hurricane Center.  Fox
VOA VIEW: A bad storm, but it would be hard to equate to Harvey.

Putin Says US And North Korea Are 'On The Verge Of A Large-Scale Conflict'
Russian President Vladimir Putin cautioned the United States on Friday not to apply too much pressure on North Korea regarding its nuclear weapon program, saying the strained relationship between the two countries was “on the verge of a large-scale conflict.” Putin posted the warning on the Kremlin website before he left for the BRICS nations summit in China, Reuters reported.  Fox
VOA VIEW: It's time for a real showdown - NK can no longer hold the world hostage.

Trump Set To Announce Decision On 'Dreamers' Program Tuesday
President Donald Trump plans to announce Tuesday whether he’ll scrap protections for immigrants illegally brought to the U.S. as children as he comes under new pressure from top congressional Republicans and hundreds of business leaders to keep the program. “We love dreamers. We love everybody,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office Friday when asked whether young immigrants covered by the program should be worried. He plans an announcement Tuesday on the Obama-era program, spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Friday. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: America must stand for its sovereignty.

Trump Aide Who Delivered Letter Firing Comey Plans To Quit
President Donald Trump’s longtime personal aide, Keith Schiller, plans to leave the White House at the end of September for a better paying job, said a person familiar with his decision. Schiller, a former Trump bodyguard who is now director of Oval Office operations, was the aide the president sent to FBI headquarters to deliver the letter firing director James Comey. Comey was speaking to field agents in Los Angeles at the time.  Bloomberg

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Treasury IG Set To Review Mnuchin's Controversial Trip To Kentucky
Jaws dropped in August when Linton posted a picture of herself on Instagram stepping out of a U.S. government plane. She had tagged a series of luxury designers such as Hermes, Tom Ford and Valentino to describe her expensive clothing. Social media pounced on the post and called it ostentatious. The IG's review was first reported by The Washington Post. CNN

Mueller Has Draft Letter Trump Wrote Justifying Comey's Firing
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has the draft of a letter that President Trump wrote to justify the firing of then-FBI Director James Comey, CBS News' Major Garrett confirms, according to sources familiar with the White House and Justice Department process. Comey's testimony, on May 3, about the FBI's Hillary Clinton email investigation bothered Mr. Trump, as was known at the time, but it also bothered Rosenstein. The Friday before firing Comey, the president began talking to lawyer friends and senior staff about Comey, wondering if his testimony was accurate. The president wrote nothing down, only spoke. CBS
VOA VIEW: What happened to confidentiality?

State Department Investigating Another "Incident" In Cuba
The State Department says it is investigating another "incident" in June that injured U.S. diplomats in Cuba. The unspecified incident is now part of the ongoing investigation into the matter, according to State partment spokesperson Heather Nauert. The State Department also increased the confirmed number of affected U.S. personnel to 19, up from the 16 previously reported. The latest assessments of the attacks suggest inaudible sound -- ultra- and infrasonic waves -- are responsible. CBS News

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First Water, Then Red Ink: The Cost Of Recovery When Most Are Uninsured
First water, then red ink: The nightmare of Hurricane Harvey’s deluge of Houston could be exacerbated by the cost of recovery. Experts say the unique nature of Harvey’s devastation means affected residents — and FEMA’s already-broke flood insurance plan — will be the ones reaching into their pockets to rebuild. The early figures are fluid and likely to change, probably increasing as the extent of the damage becomes more clear. And early estimates of aggregate losses already vary widely, depending on whether the figure includes insured and uninsured property damage, or indirect impacts like lost worker productivity and economic output. NBC News
VOA VIEW: Those who never bothered to buy some insurance should not be rewarded and made whole.

Doctors Wade Through Harvey Floods To Treat Cancer Patient
It was Monday morning, time to infuse his patient’s immune cells back into his body so they could kill the melanoma tumors threatening his life. But the entrance to Dr. Adi Diab’s apartment parking garage in Houston was blocked by water from Hurricane Harvey’s floods and he couldn’t get out that way. The timing of patient John Cormier’s treatment was crucial — he was sitting in a hospital bed, his immune system deliberately destroyed by chemotherapy, and the replacement cells wouldn’t last long in the lab. NBC News

94,785,000 Not In Labor Force; At 62.9%, Labor Force Participation Stuck Near 38-Year Low
Heading into the Labor Day weekend, the latest jobs report is a disappointment. The number of Americans over age 16 who are not in the labor force – for whatever reason – remained stubbornly high in August, at 94,785,000.  That is partly attributed to the rising number of retirements among Baby Boomers. As recently as December 2016, a record 95,102,000 Americans were not in the labor force, and the number has hovered near that record high so far in 2017. At the same time, the labor force participation rate -- the percentage of the civilian, non-institutional population that is either working or actively seeking work – was unchanged in August at 62.9 percent, near its 38-year low of 62.4 percent set in September 2015.  CNS

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Texas Sheriff To Looters: ‘There’s A Possibility You Could Leave This County In A Bag’
Troy Nehls, the sheriff of Fort Bend County, Texas issued a warning to looters Friday: Stay out, or “leave the county” in a body bag. Nehls told Fox News that many of the area’s residents believe in the 2nd Amendment and are armed. When asked what his county was doing to deal with looters, Nehls said: “We’ve experienced very little of that in Fort Bend County,” he said. “I’ve heard some horrific stories in Harris County and others, and I’ll tell you right now the residents of Fort Bend County, they support the 2nd Amendment. Many of them are armed.  CNS
VOA VIEW: Very well put.

Trump's Houston Trip Will Serve As Empathy Test
For a man who prefers to project a glowering brusqueness, Donald Trump’s trip to Houston on Saturday provides him with the opportunity to show a warmer, more empathetic side — and perhaps connect with some Americans critical of his presidency. Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, became known as the “comforter-in-chief” for his role in consoling victims of mass shootings and terror attacks.  Reuters
VOA VIEW: Trump is no Obama - that is good.

U.S.-led Coalition Says Islamic State Convoy Remains In Syrian Desert
A convoy of Islamic State fighters and their families remains in the Syrian desert after turning back from the Iraqi border, the U.S.-led coalition said on Friday. The coalition said in a statement that it has asked Russia to tell the Syrian government that the coalition will not allow the convoy of 17 buses to move further east to the Iraqi border. The Syrian army and Lebanon’s Hezbollah group gave safe passage to the jihadists after they surrendered their enclave on Syria’s border with Lebanon. The U.S.-led coalition says it was not a party to the deal. Reuters

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Trump Uncovers Evidence Of Dreamers Loophole Hidden By Obama
Thousands of Dreamers have used a loophole in federal law to get on a full pathway to citizenship, top congressional Republicans revealed Friday, citing government data withheld by the Obama administration but provided by the Trump administration. The Dreamers were all part of DACA, the legally questionable amnesty program that’s under scrutiny right now as President Trump decides whether to scrap the Obama-era amnesty. The House and Senate Judiciary Committees revealed that more than 45,000 DACA recipients were approved for “advance parole,” which is permission to leave and reenter the U.S. despite not being in permanent legal status here. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Trump must stop the gimmick.

Left-Wing Activists Launch ‘No Red Cross’ Campaign, Ask For Donor Dollars
Activists are discouraging Hurricane Harvey donors from giving to the American Red Cross and urging them instead to contribute to left-wing causes, some of which are advocacy groups engaged in little if any emergency relief work. Linda Sarsour, a prominent Muslim and feminist activist, sent out a tweet encouraging donors to give to the Texas Organizing Project Education Fund, which conducts “direct action organizing, grass-roots lobbying and electoral organizing led by working families in Texas.”  Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Sarsour is a fascist.

Republicans Crank Up Pressure On Trump To Not Scrap DACA
President Donald Trump is under mounting pressure from members of his own party not to end an Obama-era program that grants work permits to hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children — a group often referred to as Dreamers. As an unofficial Tuesday deadline approaches, Trump and his staff have received a series of calls from GOP officials warning that any effort to undo the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program could be politically damaging. POLITICO
VOA VIEW: Trump must keep his campaign promise - good-bye DACA.

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FBI, Homeland Security Warn Of More ‘Antifa’ Attacks
Federal authorities have been warning state and local officials since early 2016 that leftist extremists known as “antifa” had become increasingly confrontational and dangerous, so much so that the Department of Homeland Security formally classified their activities as “domestic terrorist violence,” according to interviews and confidential law enforcement documents obtained by POLITICO. Since well before the Aug. 12 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned deadly, DHS has been issuing warnings about the growing likelihood of lethal violence between the left-wing anarchists and right-wing white supremacist and nationalist groups. POLITICO
VOA VIEW: Antifa should be stopped.

White House To Seek $5.9 Billion In Immediate Aid For Harvey
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney is planning to send a formal request to Congress Friday afternoon seeking $5.9 billion as a “down payment” in emergency relief for Hurricane Harvey, according to a source familiar with the plans. Most of the money — about $5.5 billion — will go directly to FEMA’s disaster relief efforts. Another $450 million will go to loans for the Small Business Administration. “This is the initial package, clearly not the whole disaster funding,” the official said, adding it would be “to meet the immediate needs.” POLITICO

Obesity Epidemic At New High, Costs $150B A Year, Hurts Military Recruiting
Americans continue to get fatter and it's delivering a huge blow to the country, both in higher health care costs and undercutting military recruiting, according to a huge new study. The 14th annual State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation bluntly reported that 70 percent of the nation is obese or overweight.  Washington Examiner

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After Harvey, Houstonians Eye Long Road To Recovery
The Bolivar Peninsula Special Utility District has called for a Stage 5 emergency water shortage condition as flooding around the Lower Neches Valley Authority's surface water plant has caused it to cease operations. The utility district's website advises residents to bring their water to a rolling boil prior to consumption and cease any non-essential use of water. Officials will not be able to assess the damage and lift the order until the water has completely receded in Winnie, where the plant is located, said Galveston County public information officer Brittany Viegas. Houston Chronicle

Houston Tries To Safeguard Some Areas By Flooding Others
Officials in Houston sought Friday to safeguard parts of their devastated city by intentionally flooding others that were inundated by Harvey, which retained enough rain-making power to raise the risk of flooding in the middle of the country a week after it slammed into Texas. The mayor announced plans to release water from two reservoirs that could keep as many as 20,000 homes flooded for up to 15 days. In another Texas city with no drinking water, people waited in a line that stretched for more than a mile to get bottled water. ABC News

Forceful Chief Of Staff Grates On Trump, And The Feeling Is Mutual
President Trump was in an especially ornery mood after staff members gently suggested he refrain from injecting politics into day-to-day issues of governing after last month’s raucous rally in Arizona, and he responded by lashing out at the most senior aide in his presence. It happened to be his new chief of staff, John F. Kelly. Mr. Kelly, the former Marine general brought in five weeks ago as the successor to Reince Priebus, reacted calmly, but he later told other White House staff members that he had never been spoken to like that during 35 years of serving his country. NY Times
VOA VIEW: Don't believe anything reported by the NYT.

Paul Ryan Says Trump Should Not End Protections For Dreamers
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Friday that President Donald Trump should not terminate a program protecting young undocumented immigrants who come to the U.S. as children, even though he and other Republicans have repeatedly tried to end it in Congress. “I actually don’t think he should do that,” Ryan said concerning reports that Trump will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which could be killed as early as Friday. Huffington Post
VOA VIEW: Ryan is being and acting weak.

Tech Billionaire Pledges $36 Million To Start Harvey Relief Charity
Michael Dell, founder and CEO of computer giant Dell Inc., said he and his wife Susan would donate $36 million from their foundation to help Texas recover from Harvey’s catastrophic flooding. The donation ? the largest single contribution to a Harvey relief organization yet ? will found the Rebuild Texas Fund. Dell said the new organization would work with Texas-based OneStar Foundation to raise $100 million. Huffington Post

1 Dead From West Nile Virus In North Georgia
Georgia health officials on Friday confirmed the third West Nile virus death in Georgia this year and cautioned those looking to catch some sun this Labor Day weekend. “Protecting yourself from mosquito bites, eliminating mosquito breeding grounds, and using larvicides to kill mosquito larva before they can grow into biting adults are the best ways to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile,” Dr. Unini Odama, health director for the Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health District, said in a news release. Atlanta Journal

Russia Lashes Out After Trump’s Shutdown Of Diplomatic Posts
Russia accused the United States on Friday of a “gross violation of international law” after the Trump administration gave Moscow two days to shutter diplomatic outposts in San Francisco and other American cities. As Russian diplomats rushed to meet the Saturday deadline, black smoke was seen billowing out of the chimney at the San Francisco consulate, one of three Russian facilities being forcibly closed. Firefighters, who were turned away by Russian officials when they responded to the scene, said the Russians were burning something in their fireplace. NY Post
VOA VIEW: Russia is not a big as they act.

Mueller Examines Trump’s Draft Letter
Special counsel Robert Mueller is reviewing a letter drafted by President Trump and a top aide in the days before the firing of FBI Director James Comey laying out in detail why the president wanted to get rid of the country’s top law enforcement official, according to people familiar with the Mueller probe. The multipage letter enumerated Trump’s long-simmering complaints with Comey, according to people familiar with it, including Trump’s frustration that Comey was unwilling to say publicly that Trump was not personally under investigation in the FBI’s inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Philadelphia Inquirer

Highest Temperatures Ever Recorded Around The San Francisco Bay Area
San Francisco broke its highest temperature record of 103 degrees set in 2000 today. On Friday afternoon, the mercury shot up to 104. A ridge of high pressure over the Pacific Ocean is bringing scorching-hot temperatures typical in Death Valley to the San Francisco Bay Area. The mercury is expected to skyrocket on Friday and Saturday with highs in the low 90s on the coast and in the 100s in inland areas.  SF Gate

Floodwaters Inundate Beaumont As Houston Assesses Damage
As Southeast Texas residents emerged by the thousands from shelters, motels and friends’ houses to return to flood-damaged homes, others remained in the grip of the crisis on Friday, cut off by still-rising floodwaters and living without running water for a second day. In Houston and the surrounding area where the historic inundation from storm Harvey was mostly receding, peoploe tok to trucks and boats to get back into their neighborhoods, and many were appalled by what they found. NY Times

Russian Consulate Gets The Fireplace Going, In A Heat Wave
The coldest winter may be a summer in San Francisco — but not this Friday, and especially not at the Russian consulate. One day after President Trump ordered the closing of the consulate here, and in the middle of the hottest day ever recorded in the city's history, the consulate decided to get a fire going in the Pacific Heights building's fireplace. USA Today

FBI, Homeland Security Warn Of More ‘Antifa’ Attacks
Federal authorities have been warning state and local officials since early 2016 that leftist extremists known as “antifa” had become increasingly confrontational and dangerous, so much so that the Department of Homeland Security formally classified their activities as “domestic terrorist violence,” according to interviews and confidential law enforcement documents obtained by POLITICO. POLITICO

First Lady Melania Trump Arrives In Texas Wearing Adidas Sneakers
Beltway journalists were all a-Twitter over First Lady Melania Trump wearing high heels when she boarded Air Force One with President Donald Trump in Washington, DC for the trip to Texas to visit sites impacted by Hurricane Harvey. But the First Lady apparently had the ability to change shoes over the course of the flight to Corpus Christi, Texas, where she arrived wearing black slacks, a white shirt, and Adidas sneakers. Breitbart
VOA VIEW: The liberal media made something out of nothing.

Wary Of North Korea, Japan Mulls Additional Military Options
North Korea’s recent test firing of a missile over northern Japan has officials in Tokyo rethinking the country’s long tradition of pacifism. Some Japanese leaders say it's time for a new approach to national defense, one that can include limited pre-emptive strike capabilities and the purchase of additional missiles. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the government considered developing a pre-emptive strike policy earlier this year. Fox News

Trump Seeks $7.85 Billion In Harvey Aid, Urges Debt Limit Action
The Trump administration sent Congress a request Friday for almost $8 billion in initial relief for Hurricane Harvey victims and suggested the assistance be authorized in tandem with a measure to raise the federal debt ceiling, a move that House Republicans are unlikely to embrace. In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan requesting the storm aid, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney stops short of explicitly asking for the two to be linked.  Bloomberg

Texas Chemical Plant Catches Fire For Second Time In Two Days
A Houston-area chemical plant flooded by Hurricane Harvey caught fire for the second time in two days after the owner, Arkema SA, warned it had no way to stop all the materials from eventually burning. Flames and black smoke poured from the plant in Crosby, Texas, after the blaze started around 5 p.m. local time, televised images showed. Two more containers of organic peroxides exploded and burned, Bob Royall, assistant chief of emergency operations for the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office, told reporters.  Bloomberg

Release Clinton Email Probe Details, Judge Orders FBI
A federal judge has ordered the FBI to disclose more details on how the agency handled Hillary Clinton’s secret email account. U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg said court papers that describe the grand jury subpoenas the FBI obtained to press for information from Clinton’s internet service providers can be made available to the public, the Washington Times reported. “After reviewing the document in camera, the court concludes that it largely rehashes information already made public, thus obviating any need for secrecy,” the judge said. Fox News

Who Vladimir Putin Thinks Will Rule The World
On the first day of the new school year in Russia, students learned an important lesson directly from their president -- who he thinks will rule the world. Speaking to students during a national "open lesson" from the city of Yaroslavl, northeast of Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the country that takes the lead in the sphere of computer-based artificial intelligence (AI) will rule. "Artificial intelligence is the future not only of Russia but of all of mankind," said Putin. CNN

Houston Mayor Shifts Focus To Recovery As Floodwaters Recede And Damage Becomes Clearer
Though floodwaters may be receding, countless homes and neighborhoods are still flooded. Still, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says it's time for him to turn his attention to recovery, to helping the thousands displaced by Hurricane Harvey and assessing how the city will deal with the catastrophic damage in its wake. Turner surveyed the devastation from above with the city's police and fire chiefs on Thursday. Just before that, he spoke to CBS News' Mark Strassmann about what's next in the recovery effort for America's fourth largest city.  CBS News

Evacuees In East Texas Desperate To Go Anywhere Else As Flooding Crisis Continues
People in east Texas are desperate to leave the flood zone. Helicopters there are still pulling people out of floodwaters and the city of Beaumont has been without running water for 24 hours. Evacuees lined up at Beaumont's airport Thursday night, boarding planes and buses headed out of town. Many didn't care where they were going, reports CBS News' Anna Werner. As many as 60 people at a time packed into military C-130 cargo planes. "It's very important that we get out of here tonight," Corey Morris said as he was waiting to board a bus with his wife and three daughters. "They say we're going to Dallas or San Antonio. CBS News

Evacuations Ordered In Burbank As Fire Grows To 1,500 Acres
A brush fire threatened homes in the Sun Valley area Friday, blackening about 1,500 acres, forcing evacuations and shutting down a nearly 13-mile stretch of a major freeway as hundreds of firefighters struggled to bring it under control. Firefighters were using night vision goggles to make overnight water drops on the blaze, said Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department, which was working in unified command with the Burbank Fire Department. Authorities issued a mandatory evacuation for Brace Canyon Park as the fire reached Burbank. NBC News

Manufacturing Jobs Up 36,000 In August; 155,000 Since Trump’s Election
The United States gained 36,000 manufacturing jobs in the month of August and has gained 137,000 this year and 155,000 since November of last year, when the nation held a presidential election, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With these gains, employment in manufacturing reached a level not seen since January 2009, when Barack Obama was inaugurated president. CNS

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