Trump, Mattis, Mnuchin Warn North Korea Of 'Overwhelming' Military Response, Halted Trade
President Trump suggested Sunday, after another underground nuclear test by North Korea, that he’ll halt trade with any country doing business with the rogue nation, as two members of the president's Cabinet issued tough warnings of their own. “The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea,” tweeted Trump, in response to the regime of Kim Jong Un claiming to have detonated a hydrogen bomb underground. Speaking to the media on Sunday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that any threats by North Korea to the U.S. or its allies will be met with an "effective and overwhelming" military response.  Fox
VOA VIEW: North Korea must be dealt with a strong hand.

South Korea Holds Live-Fire Drill
South Korea’s military conducted a live-fire exercise simulating an attack on a nuclear site, to "strongly warn" North Korea in response to the rogue nation's apparent nuclear test, the South Korean military reported early Monday. A surface-to-surface missile and long-range air-to-ground missile "accurately struck" targets in the Sea of Japan, Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said. The Joint Chiefs of Staff said the target was set considering the distance to where the North's test site was, and the exercise was aimed at practicing precision strikes, as well as cutting off reinforcements.  Fox

Read The Inauguration Day Letter Obama Left For Trump
During his final moments in the Oval Office, President Barack Obama folded into thirds a handwritten letter to Donald Trump, slid it into an envelope, and in neat capital letters addressed it to "Mr. President." Now, the contents of that letter -- the last direct communication between the 44th and 45th presidents -- have emerged for the first time after CNN obtained a copy. "Dear Mr. President - Congratulations on a remarkable run. Millions have placed their hopes in you, and all of us, regardless of party, should hope for expanded prosperity and security during your tenure This is a unique office, without a clear blueprint for success, so I don't know that any advice from me will be particularly helpful. Still, let me offer a few reflections from the past 8 years. First, we've both been blessed, in different ways, with great good fortune. Not everyone is so lucky. It's up to us to do everything we can (to) It build more ladders of success for every child and family that's willing to work hard. Second, American leadership in this world really is indispensable. 's up to us, through action and example, to sustain the international order that's expanded steadily since the end of the Cold War, and upon which our own wealth and safety depend. Third, we are just temporary occupants of this office. That makes us guardians of those democratic institutions and traditions -- like rule of law, separation of powers, equal protection and civil liberties -- that our forebears fought and bled for. Regardless of the push and pull of daily politics, it's up to us to leave those instruments of our democracy at least as strong as we found them. And finally, take time, in the rush of events and responsibilities, for friends and family. They'll get you through the inevitable rough patches. Michelle and I wish you and Melania the very best as you embark on this great adventure, and know that we stand ready to help in any ways which we can. Good luck and Godspeed, BO CNN
VOA VIEW: How did CNN get a copy of the letter?

Trump-Obama Relationship Reaches Historic Nastiness
It's a long-distance feud, transmitted over the airwaves and on social media, that's now devolved well beyond a small political spat. For President Donald Trump and his predecessor, Barack Obama, the animosity that started years ago has never waned, except for a month-long period during the presidential transition. Now, the current and former president are carrying out the nastiest public dispute in modern presidential history, one that began on deeply personal terms and which now plays out nearly every time Trump finds a policy he dislikes or a perceived double standard. The acrimony is largely one-sided; while Obama has not made a direct assault on Trump's character since last year's presidential campaign concluded, Trump has steadily increased his stinging criticism of Obama. This week, it was the previous administration's response to Russian election hacking that drew Trump's ire. Last week, it was his signature health care law. Since the final time they spoke on Inauguration Day, Trump has lit into Obama over his handling of North Korean hostages, his decision to join the Paris climate accord and his policy toward Cuba. CNN
VOA VIEW: CNN wants to but a public wedge between Trump and Obama - Obama will lose.


Risk Of Nuclear Arms Use Highest Since Cuban Crisis, Moniz Says
Former U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, commenting on North Korea’s claim that it had tested a hydrogen bomb, said the risk of nuclear weapon use in the world is greater than in a “very, very long time,’ arguably in more than a half century. In an interview with Bloomberg at the Ambrosetti Forum in Cernobbio, Italy, Moniz argued against the use of economic sanctions on North Korea, calling instead for more efforts to build up collaboration with China. Bloomberg

Future Hurricanes Will Be Worse Than Harvey
How powerful would Hurricane Harvey have been in 1880? How much stronger might it be in 2100? A single Hurricane Harvey has been more than anyone can bear. But to better prepare cities for future storms, researchers are preparing to re-watch Harvey thousands of times. They’ve already been studying earlier storms, and their conclusions don’t bode well for the decades to come. In the months and years after Superstorm Sandy’s 2012 assault on New Jersey and New York, Gary Lackmann, an atmospheric science professor at North Carolina State University, was asked how the event might be understood in light of human-driven global warming. Bloomberg

Russia Releases Videos Of Alleged 'Illegal Actions' By US
Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs blasted America's seizure of three Russian diplomatic posts on Sunday, calling the actions an "outrageous move" that the country treats as "a blatantly hostile act," while releasing videos of what it is calling "illegal actions." The seizures of the properties, which took place Saturday at Russia's consulate in San Francisco and trade offices in Washington D.C. and New York, are part of an ongoing tit for tat between the two countries, which has escalated after Russian President Vladimir Putin's order earlier this summer that the U.S. close two diplomatic buildings in Russia -- a warehouse and a recreational facility -- and reduce its staff in the country by 755 employees. ABC News
VOA VIEW: Russia and Trump don't sound like great friends.

Frustration Mounts Over Premiums
Millions of people who buy individual health insurance policies and get no financial help from the Affordable Care Act are bracing for another year of double-digit premium increases, and their frustration is boiling over. Some are expecting premiums for 2018 to rival a mortgage payment. What they pay is tied to the price of coverage on the health insurance markets created by the Obama-era law, but these consumers get no protection from the law's tax credits, which cushion against rising premiums. Instead they pay full freight and bear the brunt of market problems such as high costs and diminished competition. ABC News


FEMA Chief Brock Long Calls Harvey A "Wake-Up Call" For State, Local Officials
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long called Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey a "wake-up call" for state and local officials when it comes to budgets. "It is a wake-up call for this country for local and state elected officials to give their governors and their emergency management directors, you know, the full budgets that they need to be fully staffed, to design rainy day funds, to have your own standalone individual assistance and public assistance programs," Long said on CBS News' "Face the Nation" Sunday. CBS News

U.N. Security Council Calls Emergency Meeting
After North Korea claimed it set off a hydrogen bomb Sunday in its most powerful nuclear test, President Trump's United Nations envoy, Nikki Haley, announced the United Nations Security Council would meet in an open emergency session Monday, at the request of the U.S., South Korea, Japan, France and Britain. With the testing of a hydrogen bomb, North Korea provoked the international community and defied the toughest set of sanctions ever imposed by the U.N. CBS News
VOA VIEW: Un is a world problem.

Drug Prosecutions Drop Under Trump, Sessions
President Trump campaigned as the law-and-order candidate and pledged to be "ruthless" in waging the war on drugs after taking office, while Attorney General Jeff Sessions pushed the need to "hammer" drug dealers. "We are returning to the enforcement of the laws as passed by Congress, plain and simple," Sessions said in May as he directed federal prosecutors to pursue the most serious charges against suspects.  CBS News

Iran: We'll Be So Strong, No Will Dare Attack Us
Amid rising tension on Israel’s northern border, Iran’s newly appointed defense minister said Tehran will bolster its support for Hezbollah in an attempt to lessen the group’s dependence on weapons imports from the Shia country. “Our aim is to cut reliance on the outside and achieve self-sufficiency in defense industry,” Brigadier General Amir Hatami said, adding “if needed, we will also export defense equipment to other countries in order to guarantee security and stability in the region.” Israel has in recent years repeatedly hit convoys believed to be transferring advanced weaponry being transferred from Iran via Syria to Hezbollah.  JPost

Trump Condemns Rogue Nation
Donald Trump yesterday led world condemnation of North Korea’s biggest ever nuclear test, describing the actions of the “rogue nation” as “very hostile and dangerous” to the US. In a series of tweets, he also poured scorn on South Korea for what he said were attempts at “appeasement” even though most allies believe Washington has little option but to pursue diplomatic efforts to resolve the nuclear crisis. Telegraph
VOA VIEW: It would not be wise to push Trump.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres
Nuclear test by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as “yet another serious breach of the country's international obligations.” According to a statement issued by a UN spokesperson, the Secretary-General also said that DPRK's action undermined international non-proliferation and disarmament efforts and is also profoundly destabilizing for regional security.  United Nations

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Los Angeles Wildfire Grows
What could be Los Angeles' largest fire on record continued to grow on Sunday amid new evacuations orders and Gov. Jerry Brown's declaration of a state of emergency in Los Angeles County. The so-called La Tuna fire expanded to nearly 6,000 acres overnight in the San Fernando Valley, burning three homes, damaging another and injuring two firefighters, Los Angeles Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said Sunday. The injured firefighters, who were treated for dehydration, were listed as stable, he said. Terrazas said he expected cooler weather and possible showers to aid the more than 1,000 firefighters who were holding the blaze at 10 percent containment. NBC News

German Techs Defuse Massive WWII Bomb After Evacuating 60,000 From Frankfurt
German explosives experts defused a massive World War Two bomb in the financial capital of Frankfurt on Sunday after tens of thousands of people were evacuated from their homes. The compulsory evacuation of 60,000 people was Germany's biggest such maneuver since the war, with more than a thousand emergency service workers helping to clear the area around the bomb, which was discovered on a building site last week. The evacuation area included two hospitals, care homes, the Opera House and Germany's central bank, the Bundesbank, where $70 billion in gold reserves are stored undegrround.  NBC News

WH Lawyer Ty Cobb To Reporter: ‘Are You On Drugs?’
White House special counsel Ty Cobb lashed out at a reporter over questions about a letter Trump wrote which laid out his rationale for firing former FBI Director James Comey. “Are you on drugs?” Cobb wrote to Natasha Bertrand, a reporter for Business Insider. Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly looking into the letter, in which Trump said Comey’s refusal to publicly say Trump was not under investigation was a reason to fire him. Daily Beast

Texas Young Democrats Slammed On Twitter For Protesting During Harvey
The Texas Young Democrats Organization was rebuked by several hundred people earlier this week after posting on Twitter about having 70 protestors at the Austin DPS office to greet President Donald Trump as he visited the state Tuesday. They used the hashtag #ReadyToResist and some wondered exactly what they were resisting as thousands were trapped by flood waters in Houston and the surrounding areas. The Hayride
VOA VIEW: Idiots!

Doxxed? Trump's Inner Circle May Be Under Cyber Attack
Unknown hackers may have dropped private and sensitive information on several members of President Trump's inner circle onto an open source forum called Hastebin. While the exact time stamp has been masked, the information contains personal phone numbers, email addresses, parking tickets, moving violations, the names of people related to them, and even Amazon Wish Lists.  PJ Media

Mattis After Nuclear Test: ‘We’re Not Looking To The Total Annihilation Of A Country … We Have Many Options To Do So’
Any threat posed by North Korea to the United States or its allies will be met with a “massive military response,” Defense Secretary James Mattis warned Sunday after a national security briefing on Pyongyang’s sixth – and evidently most powerful yet – nuclear test. “Any threat to the United States or its territories – including Guam – or our allies will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming,” he told reporters outside the White House. CNS


Judicial Watch Files Lawsuit For Records On FBI Deputy Director, Gov. McAuliffe, And Campaign Donations
Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit today on behalf of retired FBI Special Agent Jeffrey A. Danik, seeking records on FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and political donations made in 2015 to McCabe's wife by groups overseen by Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Danik worked for the FBI for nearly 30 years. As Judicial Watch explained in a press release, "In 2015, a political action committee run by McAuliffe, a close friend and political supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton, donated nearly $500,000 to Jill McCabe, wife of [Andrew] McCabe, who was then running for the Virginia State Senate."CNS

Funding Battle Looms As Texas Sees Harvey Damage At Up To $180 billion
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday challenged Congress to raise the government’s debt limit in order to free up relief spending for Hurricane Harvey, a disaster that the governor of Texas said had caused up to $180 billion in damage. Harvey, which came ashore on Aug. 25 as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years, has killed an estimated 50 people, displaced more than 1 million and damaged some 200,000 homes in a path of destruction stretching for more than 300 miles (480 km). Reuters

Russia: U.S. Closure Of Diplomatic Sites A 'Blatantly Hostile Act'
Moscow denounced the American decision to close three Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States as a “blatantly hostile act” that violated international law and demanded Washington reverse the order on Sunday. The United States has ordered the closure of the Russian consulate in San Francisco and two buildings housing trade missions in Washington and New York. It is the latest broadside in a tit-for-tat exchange between the countries that has helped push relations towards a new post-Cold War low.  Reuters

At Fed’s Miami Branch, Karen Gilmore Has A Bird’s-Eye View
While much of the country pays close attention to daily political news, the economy remains top of mind as well. The business community is closely keeping tabs on whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates again, and if so, when. Already, it has raised short-term interest rates twice in 2017. In Miami-Dade, some industries that contribute to the area’s service economy are growing at slower rates than others.  Miami Herald

Long List Of Top Democrats Have 2020, And Money, On Their Minds
Aides to Senator Kamala Harris of California say that her fund-raisers in Martha’s Vineyard and the Hamptons this summer have been all about helping Democrats in 2018. Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s allies say his new political group is building an email list so he can communicate directly with his supporters about the future of the party and the country. NY Times
VOA VIEW: The liberal media are trying to use 2020 as some threat.

19 Wildfires Burn In California
Firefighters in California were battling 19 large wildfires statewide, officials said Sunday, including a brush fire that was being called the largest ever in Los Angeles. In all, more than more than 12,000 pairs of boots were on the ground battling the fires, and temperatures on Sunday were up to 20 degrees hotter than usual. California Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday issued an emergency proclamation for Butte County, north of Sacramento, in the wake of the Ponderosa fire, which began on Aug. 29. USA Today

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Still Finding Katrina Waste And Fraud
Congress is preparing to open the federal checkbook for Hurricane Harvey, but budget watchdogs say lawmakers should take a lesson from Hurricane Katrina, after taxpayers doled out $100 billion — and investigators are still finding massive fraud and waste 12 years later. One inspector general this summer sounded an alarm over some $2 billion that New Orleans, the epicenter of Katrina damage, had asked the federal government to pony up to repair its sewers and streets. Auditors said the city’s infrastructure was a disaster even before Katrina and that it appeared the city was trying to take the feds for a ride. Washington Times

Parents Pull Children From Prestigious School After Transgender ‘Indoctrination’
California’s Rocklin Academy has a long waiting list for admissions, but that isn’t stopping some parents from pulling their children out of the prestigious charter school after a kindergarten class was exposed to transgender “indoctrination” without parental notification. Several families have pulled their children out of the Sacramento-area school since the end of the last academic year, when a male kindergartener was reintroduced to his class as a girl and two children’s books espousing transgender ideology were read to the class. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Liberals will lose.

Social Security Pays Millions To People VA Says Are Dead
The Department of Veterans Affairs knew they were dead, but the Social Security Administration kept paying benefits to hundreds of people anyway, according to a new agency audit released Friday that says at least $37 million in bogus payments were made. Investigators compared the VA’s record to Social Security rolls and found nearly 4,000 people who were listed as dead by the VA, but were still getting checks. Some of those people listed as dead were in fact still alive, but others were deceased — and their checks never should have been paid, the Social Security inspector general said. Washington Times

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The Martyring Of Colin Kaepernick
In the afternoon of June 23, a civil rights activist sent an email directly to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, hoping to save the league from making a colossal PR blunder. Dr. Harry Edwards, a trained sociologist, had been an adviser to sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith when they raised their fists on the medal podium at the 1968 Olympics. Last year, he was a regular sounding board for Colin Kaepernick when the then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback began to kneel for the national anthem to protest racial inequality and conservative pundits like Tomi Lahren raked him as a “whiny, indulgent, attention-seeking crybaby." POLITICO

U.S. Army Unprepared To Deal With Russia In Europe
The U.S. Army’s rapid reaction force in Europe is underequipped, undermanned and inadequately organized to confront military aggression from Russia or its high-tech proxies, according to an internal study that some who have read it view as a wake-up call as the Trump administration seeks to deter an emboldened Vladimir Putin. The Italy-based 173rd Airborne Brigade, a bulwark of the NATO alliance that has spent much of the past decade and a half rotating in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan, lacks “essential capabilities needed to accomplish its mission effectively and with decisive speed,” according to the analysis by the brigade, a copy of which was obtained by POLITICO. POLITICO

EU ‘Ready To Sharpen Sanctions’ VS North Korea After Nuclear Test
The European Union is ready to “sharpen” its policy of sanctions against North Korea following a major nuclear test Sunday, said European Council President Donald Tusk. The test — North Korea’s most powerful so far — dramatically escalated tensions between Pyongyang and Washington, hours after U.S. President Donald Trump talked about “maximizing pressure” on the North Korean regime during a phone call with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. While Trump condemned the test as “hostile and dangerous,” Tusk noted that the latest test violated North Korea’s obligations under international law and invited a response from the United Nations Security Council. POLITICO

Cambodian Government Arrests Opposition Leader
Kem Sokha, leader of the Cambodian government's main opposition party, was arrested on Sunday morning and charged with treason. In a statement released by the Cambodian government, officials accused Sokha, leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, of conspiring with foreign powers to undermine the current government. "The Royal Government would like to inform the public that according to a video clip broadcasted by the Cambodian Broadcasting Network, based in Australia, and other evidences collected by the competent authority, it clearly proves the conspiracy between Kem Sokha and the accomplices with foreign power, which harms the Kingdom of Cambodia," the statement read. UPI

San Diego Declares Health Emergency Amid Hepatitis A Outbreak
San Diego's homeless population has been hit hardest by the highly contagious hepatitis A virus. The outbreak, which began in November, has spread after vaccination and educational programs in the city failed to reduce the infection rate. The virus attacks the liver. The public health declaration bolsters the county Health and Human Services Agency's ability to request state assistance to fund new sanitation measures. NPR

Astronaut Peggy Whitson Home Safe After Record Stay Aboard Space Station
Astronaut Peggy Whitson is home safe after spending a record 288 days on the International Space Station. Whitson touched down in Kazakhstan at 9:21 p.m. EDT on Saturday aboard a Soyuz capsule. Whitson was joined for the trip home by NASA colleague Jack Fischer and cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikin of Roscosmos. Whitson's 288-day mission is the record for most consecutive days spent in space by an American. She has now spent a cumulative of 665 days in space, also a record for U.S. astronauts.  UPI

Granite, Obayashi Preparing New Marine Base On Guam
A joint venture team of Granite Construction and Obayashi Corporation has won a $165 million military infrastructure contract for Guam. The award, announced by Granite this week, was issued by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific for the Finegayan Utilities and Site Improvements Phase I project in Finegayan, Guam. The project is for the preparation of a 400-acre site for future construction of operational, administrative and bachelor housing structures for a new Marine Corps base. UPI

For Westerners Who Join ISIS, Fulfillment Or Disillusion?
What is life like for the men and women from the West—thousands of whom have traveled to Syria—to join ISIS in its campaign of brutality? Do they encounter the caliphate they imagined, or does their commitment to the ISIS cause waver when they encounter its reality, removed from the group’s infamous propaganda machine? National Geographic's new mini-series event, “The State,” seeks to uncover answers to these questions.  National Geographic

Mnuchin: Hurricane Harvey Aid Should Be Tied To Debt Ceiling Increase
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday urged Congress to tie a relief package for Hurricane Harvey victims to a “clean” increase of the debt ceiling. “Our first priority is to make sure that [Texas] gets money. It is critical,” Mnuchin said on Fox News Sunday. “And to do that, we need to make sure we raise the debt limit.” Even before Harvey ravaged Texas and Louisiana, the Trump administration was asking for a clean, no-strings-attached hike in the federal debt limit—to the chagrin of congressional Republicans who have called for spending cuts to be tied to a debt ceiling increase. Daily Beast

Largest Wildfire In Los Angeles History
A wildfire on the northern edge of Los Angeles rapidly grew on Saturday into what the mayor called the largest blaze in the city's history, prompting the evacuation of hundreds of people and the closure of a major highway. The 5,000-acre (2,023-hectare) La Tuna Fire, named after the canyon area where it erupted on Friday, has led authorities to evacuate more than 700 homes in a north Los Angeles neighborhood and in nearby Burbank and Glendale, officials said. CA News Yahoo

Charters And The Debate On Segregation
The Red Bank Charter School, one of New Jersey’s longest running, occupies an old home joined with a former elementary school building. Its brightly decorated classrooms are filled with a mix of faces: white, Hispanic, and black students, dressed in navy blue and khaki. “What makes the school special is, we are integrated. That’s hard to do,” said Meredith Pennotti, the charter school’s principal. Critics see it differently.Philadelphia Inquirer

Caribbean Islands Put Under Hurricane Watch
Hurricane Irma revved itself up into a Category 3 storm Sunday, with winds of 115 mph, and a host of Caribbean islands placed themselves under a hurricane watch as the storm crept closer. The National Hurricane Center’s 8 p.m. Sunday advisory placed Irma about 760 miles east of the Leeward Islands, moving westward at 14 mph. “Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours,” the center advised. Already, hurricane-force winds extend 35 miles outward from the storm’s center, and tropical-storm-force winds out 140 miles. Miami Herald

Rental Agencies Rush Cars To Houston
Betina Wolfowicz's home was flooded as a result of Hurricane Harvey, but there was a tougher immediate challenge than lining up a repair crew: Tracking down a car to rent. She says it took longer to find a rental car to temporarily replace the two vehicles she lost in the storm than it did to locate a contractor to start gutting her house’s water-soaked first floor in the Houston suburb of Bellaire. The hunt for scarce rental cars is testing the patience of weary Texans. In a sprawling metropolis like Houston, having a car to drive can be essential.  USA Today

U.N. Human Rights Report Documents ‘Extensive’ Human Rights Abuses In Venezuela
The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) formed a team in June to document human rights violations in the failed socialist nation, but says it was denied access to the country by President Nicolás Maduro’s government. Consequently, it conducted “remote monitoring activities in the region” including interviews with victims, families, NGOs, and the attorney general’s office. Breitbart

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