NEWS   SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER  23, 2017   NEWS

McCain Comes Out Against ObamaCare Overhaul, Dealing Blow To GOP’s Repeal Hopes
Sen. John McCain announced his opposition Friday to Republican colleagues’ last-ditch ObamaCare overhaul bill, dealing a major blow to GOP leaders’ push to pass repeal legislation under President Trump. “I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal,” the Arizona Republican senator said in a statement, using the bill’s nickname. McCain – who helped kill the so-called “skinny repeal” back in July – once again was considered a key vote on the current bill, as one of just three wavering GOP senators. His opposition could effectively doom the bill, which Senate leaders were hoping to bring to the floor next week ahead of a looming deadline.  Fox
VOA VIEW: Obamacare can implode in its own and the no voting Republicans and Democrats can be at fault.

Kimberley Strassel: The Fate Of The GOP's Graham-Cassidy Health Care Bill Is In Sen. Lisa Murkowski's Hands
It’s accurate to say that the fate of the GOP’s new health-care bill, Graham-Cassidy, is in the hands of Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski. The question is whether Ms. Murkowski, when she considers her vote, will use the right calculator. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is agonizingly close to having the votes to pass the plan sponsored by South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham and Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy. It would replace ObamaCare by repealing its worst mandates and sending money to the states as block grants. Fox

Puerto Rico Dam: Evacuations Begin Along Guajataca River
All people living near the Guajataca River in northwest Puerto Rico should evacuate immediately because of an "imminent dam break," the National Weather Service in San Juan said Friday afternoon. "All Areas surrounding the Guajataca River should evacuate NOW. Their lives are in DANGER! Please SHARE!" an earlier tweet said. About 70,000 people in the area of the Guajataca Dam have been told to evacuate, National Guard spokeswoman Yennifer Alvarez told CNN's Leyla Santiago. The NWS issued a flash-flood notice for the towns of Isabela and Quebradillas, which are about 6 miles apart. CNN
VOA VIEW: Sad!

Trump Administration To Replace Travel Ban With Country-Specific Restrictions
The Trump administration will unveil more tailored restrictions on travelers from certain countries as a replacement to the controversial travel ban over the weekend, according to senior administration officials. The new restrictions will vary by country and could include a ban on travel to the United States, or new restrictions on obtaining a visa for citizens of particular countries, the official said. They would replace the ban on entry by citizens of six Muslim-majority nations, which President Donald Trump announced early in his term and later modified. CNN

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Fed Officials Ponder Slow Inflation With December Hike On Table
Federal Reserve officials said there’s room to be patient in the run-up to their December policy meeting, even as they aired varying degrees of concern over this year’s inflation slowdown. San Francisco Fed President John Williams said he expects “gradual rate increases” over the next couple of years, with one possibly as early as December, and Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said he’s keeping an open mind toward an increase that month. Bloomberg

White House Says It Didn’t Sign Off on Health Secretary’s Private Jet Use
The White House says it didn’t sign off on what are reportedly at least two dozen private-jet trips taken by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price that are now under review by the department’s inspector general. Price took at least 24 flights on private airplanes since he became a cabinet secretary in February, Politico reported this week. The trips have cost taxpayers more than $300,000 and were a sharp departure from Price’s predecessors, who typically used commercial flights in the continental U.S., according to Politico. Bloomberg

'No Magic Fix' On North Korea, Expert Says
A North Korea expert said it's clear we need more sanctions against North Korea, but fears that President Donald Trump's earlier threat to "totally destroy" the rogue nation if it attacks the U.S. or its allies will backfire. "We clearly need more sanctions. It's good to have more sanctions. But we've been sanctioning Korea for years now. There's no magic fix here," Joe Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation based in Washington D.C., told ABC News. ABC
VOA VIEW: Kin Jong Un and his regime must go.

Alabama Rally: Trump Campaigns
President Trump rallied with his Alabama supporters on Friday evening for more than an hour in a last-ditch effort to push incumbent Sen. Luther Strange across the finish line in next week’s tight Republican runoff. During a campaign rally in Huntsville, the president said he appreciated how Strange agreed to vote for ObamaCare replacement legislation this summer without asking any favors from him. “I called him up a week ago and I said, ‘You know, I think you’re down by a few points,’” Trump said. “But I’m going to come to Alabama and I’m going to make a speech for you on Friday night.” Fox
VOA VIEW: Loyalty is what it is all about.

Ben Carson Praises Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore
Dr. Ben Carson, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, on Friday praised Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore in the state’s contentious runoff, an apparent break with the president who is backing another candidate. "Judge Moore is a fine man of proven character and integrity, who I have come to respect over the years,” Carson said in the statement released by the Moore campaign. Fox

Trump: NFL Owners Should Fire Players Who Protest The National Anthem
President Donald Trump criticized some in the National Football League Friday night at a rally for Alabama Republican Senate candidate Luther Strange, saying team owners should fire players for taking a knee during the national anthem. Trump added that if fans would "leave the stadium" when players kneel in protest during the national anthem, "I guarantee, things will stop." Trump said NFL owners should respond to the players by saying, "Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he's fired. He's fired!" CNN
VOA VIEW: A pro America logical position.

Trump After 'Lock Her Up' Chant: Talk To Jeff  Sessions
President Donald Trump told an Alabama crowd Friday night that if "Crooked Hillary" Clinton had won the 2016 election, "you would not have a Second Amendment." "You'd be handing in your rifles," Trump said. "You'd be turning over your rifles." The comment was met by chants of "lock her up," reminiscent of his own campaign rallies during the 2016 presidential rally. "You've got to speak to Jeff Sessions about that," Trump replied, referencing his US attorney general. CNN

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Former FBI Chief James Comey Has Speech Interrupted By Protesters
Former FBI Director James Comey was repeatedly interrupted by protesters before his convocation address at Howard University in Washington, D.C., today. Students in the upper level of the university’s auditorium chanted slogans as Comey stood at the lectern. Some of the slogans included "We shall not be moved," "I love being black" and "No justice, no peace, no racist police." Comey told the protesters, “I hope you’ll stay and listen to what I have to say. I’ve listened to you for five minutes.” The protesting continued, and at one point Comey said, "Can we give this another shot?" ABC News
VOA VIEW: Comey is not welcomed by anyone.

Police Respond To Hostage Situation At Tennessee Bank
Police are responding to a hostage situation at a bank in Tennessee on Friday, CBS Nashville affiliate WTVF reports. Nine people were taken hostage inside a bank in Columbia by a male suspect armed with a machete, police said. Three of the hostages were eventually released, but six people remain trapped inside the Community First Bank and Trust.  CBS News

Guajataca Dam Fails In Puerto Rico, Prompting "Extremely Dangerous" Situation
The National Weather Service in San Juan said Friday that the northwestern municipalities of Isabela and Quebradillas, home to some 70,000 people, were being evacuated with buses because the nearby Guajataca Dam was failing after Hurricane Maria hit the U.S. territory. Maria poured more than 15 inches of rain on the mountains surrounding the dam, swelling the reservoir behind it. Details remained slim about the evacuation with communications hampered after the storm, but operators of the dam reported that the failure was causing flash-flooding downstream. The 345-yard dam holds back a man-made lake covering about 2 square miles and was built decades ago, U.S. government records show. CBS News

McCain To Oppose Obamacare Repeal, Possibly Dooming GOP Effort
Senator John McCain said Friday he’ll vote against the GOP-only Obamacare repeal proposal, becoming the second Republican to oppose the measure and possibly dooming the ability of party leaders to enact it. “I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal," McCain of Arizona said in a statement. "I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried." McCain joins Kentucky Republican Rand Paul in opposing the bill, while Susan Collins of Maine said Friday she is leaning against it, according to a Portland newspaper. Senate Republicans can afford to lose no more than two members of their 52-48 majority and pass the bill. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: McCain is a foolish end of his time traitor, while Paul is also ending his career.

Trump's Misleading Claim On Pre-Existing Protections In Graham-Cassidy
President Donald Trump said the latest Republican bill to get rid of Obamacare raises no concerns on coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. The question has become a sticking point in the repeal effort. Before the Affordable Care Act, insurers could deny coverage to people who had cancer, asthma or some other illness. The law banned that practice. "I would not sign Graham-Cassidy if it did not include coverage of pre-existing conditions," Trump tweeted. "It does! A great Bill. Repeal & Replace." Trump is not entirely wrong, but his tweet papers over some pitfalls in what the bill offers. Politifact

DHS Tells States About Russian Hacking During 2016 Election
The Department of Homeland Security contacted election officials in 21 states Friday to notify them that they had been targeted by Russian government hackers during the 2016 election campaign. Three months ago, DHS officials said that people connected to the Russian government tried to hack voter registration files or public election sites in 21 states, but Friday was the first time that government officials contacted individual state election officials to let them know their systems had been targeted. Officials said DHS told officials in all 50 states whether their systems had been attacked or not. Washington Post

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21 Million More Uninsured Under Graham-Cassidy Health Care Bill
If the latest Republican bill to repeal Obamacare passes, 21 million fewer people will have insurance by 2026, according to a new analysis Friday. The bill, known as Graham-Cassidy, would eliminate Obamacare’s requirement that individuals buy insurance, end its expansion of Medicaid, and require every state to build their own health care system using a new federal block grant. It would also put new caps on Medicaid spending, which are expected to grow at a slower rate than under current law. Graham-Cassidy’s block grants expire in 2027.  NBC News

Scaramucci Takes Revenge On White House Staffers On ‘The View’
Anthony Scaramucci came on "The View" Friday with a plan to take the high road. But, like his time as White House Communications Director, that didn't last very long. The man known as "The Mooch" called out several of his former White House colleagues, including former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, one time chief strategist Steve Bannon, and departed Press Secretary Sean Spicer — the same people he profanely ranted about in a shocking summertime interview with The New Yorker that led to his ouster. NBC News
VOA VIEW: Scaramucci is a fool.

Trump’s NAFTA Withdrawal Threats, Deportations Blamed For Increase In Mexicans’ Negative Views Of US
A recent survey of Mexicans’ opinions found a significant jump in the percentage holding a “very unfavorable” opinion of the United States – from six percent in 2015 to 42 percent this year – and also a decline in Mexicans’ willingness to move illegally to the U.S. to look for work. Immigration advocates and experts attribute a shift to President Trump’s rhetoric, his threat to pull out of NAFTA, and an increase in immigrant deportations. The Pew Research Center’s survey, conducted last spring, found 65 percent of Mexicans have a negative view of the U.S., more than double what it was two years ago when 29 percent expressed a negative view.  CNS

Piscopo's Plan To End Threat Of Kim Jong-Un: 'Send Two Italian Guys From Jersey In A Buick'
On Thursday, comedian Joe Piscopo suggested a way to deal with threats made to the U.S. by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Appearing at the Media Research Center’s 30th anniversary gala in Washington, DC, Piscopo said it’d only take “two Italian guys from Jersey in a Buick” two days to deal with the threat of North Korea: “Yeah, now Kim Jong-un, oh, please, please. Send two Italian guys from Jersey in a Buick - it’ll be over in two days, alright. “I’m just saying: ‘Hey, Kim, get in the truck. Hey, Johnny, put him in the trunk,’ you know. CNS

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Alabama Senate Race Tests Trump’s Ability To Deliver His Voters
U.S. President Donald Trump will test his ability to persuade his staunchly anti-establishment political base to get behind Republican incumbents when he wades into a bitter U.S. Senate fight in Alabama on Friday. Trump is scheduled to campaign in Huntsville, Alabama, for Senator Luther Strange, who was appointed to his seat after Jeff Sessions was named Trump’s attorney general. Strange is trying to ward off a challenge from Roy Moore, a conservative former state Supreme Court justice, in a runoff election next week. “Will be in Alabama tonight. Luther Strange has gained mightily since my endorsement, but will be very close. He loves Alabama, and so do I!” Trump wrote in a post on Twitter early Friday. Reuters
VOA VIEW: Republicans are failing the people.

Wisconsin, 20 Other U.S. States Targeted By Russian Hackers In 2016 Election
Wisconsin, a key state in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, said on Friday it was one of the 21 states that the federal government notified were targeted by Russian government hackers but no votes were changed. The Department of Homeland Security confirmed it had notified the 21 states but declined to identify them Friday. Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Michael Haas said Homeland Security told 21 states that “Russian government cyber actors” targeted their state voter registration systems in 2016.  Reuters

Russia Wants Trump And Kim Jong Un To Calm Down
Russia urged "hot heads" to calm down on Friday as the United States admitted it felt "challenged" by North Korea's warning that it could test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific and President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un traded more insults. Trump called the North Korean leader a "madman" on Friday, a day after Kim dubbed him a "mentally deranged U.S. dotard" who would face the "highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history" in retaliation for Trump saying the U.S. would "totally destroy" North Korea if it threatened the U.S. or its allies. Business Insider

Iran Tests Missile Despite Trump Pressure
Iran says it has successfully tested a new-medium range missile, in defiance of US President Donald Trump. The launch of the Khoramshahr missile, which has a range of 2,000 km (1242 miles), was shown on state TV. It is unclear when the test took place. At the UN on Tuesday, Mr Trump criticised Iran's missile programme and the 2015 nuclear deal with the country. On Friday Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would increase its military power "as a deterrent" The Khoramshahr missile was first displayed at a military parade on Friday in Tehran. It is capable of carrying multiple warheads, state broadcaster Press TV reports. BBC
VOA VIEW: Iran needs to be punished for its defiance.

China Limits Oil Trade To North Korea And Bans Textile Trade
China has moved to limit North Korea's oil supply and will stop buying textiles from the politically isolated nation, it said on Saturday. China is North Korea's most important trading partner, and one of its only sources of hard currency. The ban on textiles trade will hurt Pyongyang's income, while China's oil exports are the country's main source of petroleum products. The tougher stance follows North Korea's latest nuclear test this month. The United Nations agreed fresh sanctions - including the textiles and petroleum restrictions - in response. A statement from China's commerce ministry said restrictions on refined petroleum products would apply from 1 October, and on liquefied natural gas immediately. Under the UN resolution,  BBC

Trump’s Financial Strategy Persuades China To Put Screws To North Korea
President Trump persuaded China to freeze all financial transactions with North Korea and ordered a new round of U.S. sanctions Thursday, closing out his first U.N. General Assembly with a major diplomatic victory in his efforts to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missile programs short of war. In a carefully choreographed strategy deployed from the shadow of the United Nations headquarters in New York, Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin called the head of China’s central bank very early Thursday to alert him that Mr.  Washington Times

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Dems Not Declaring Victory Yet On Obamacare
When John McCain cast the decisive vote against Obamacare repeal two months ago, Chuck Schumer waved an arm to quiet fellow Democrats as they burst into audible elation. Don’t gloat or cheer over the GOP’s failure, Schumer signaled — a move he made again on Friday in a statement, after McCain delivered what looks like a fatal blow to his party’s seven-year drive to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. POLITICO

Why McCain Screwed The GOP On Obamacare Repeal — Again
Not even 24 hours after John McCain dramatically tanked a Republican effort to repeal Obamacare in late July, his best friend Lindsey Graham started working feverishly in private to try again. Graham — who’s never shown much interest in health care policy — quietly trekked to the White House with Sen. Bill Cassidy to try and sell President Donald Trump on their latest proposal that would transform Obamacare into a block grant program for states. POLITICO
VOA VIEW: McCain has never been a true Republican.

North Korea: Trump And Kim Call Each Other Mad
Kim Jong-un has said remarks by "deranged" US President Donald Trump have convinced him he is right to develop weapons for North Korea. In an unprecedented personal statement, Mr Kim said Mr Trump would "pay dearly" for a UN speech where he threatened to "totally destroy" the North if the US was forced to defend itself. Mr Trump responded that the "madman... will be tested like never before". BBC

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Trump Administration Rescinds Obama-Era Guidance On Campus Sexual Assault
The Trump administration on Friday withdrew Obama-era guidance on how colleges and universities should respond to sexual violence, giving schools flexibility to use a higher standard of evidence in judging cases and formally shifting the federal stance on what has become an explosive campus issue. The action crystallized a pledge Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made on Sept. 7 to replace what she called a “failed system” of civil rights enforcement related to campus sexual assault. In her view, the government under President Barack Obama did not strike the right balance in protecting the rights of victims and the accused. Washington Post

Uber's Latest Setback: Loss Of Licence To Operate In London
Uber once wore its reputation for being a rule-breaker as a badge of pride. In London, that reputation became a liability when the British capital’s transport authority said Friday it will not renew the ride-hailing company’s license to operate, arguing that the San Francisco firm demonstrates a lack of corporate responsibility that undermines public safety and security.  LA Times

CVS Will Limit Opioid Prescriptions To 7 Days
In a new effort to tackle the deadly opioid addiction crisis in the United States, pharmacy giant CVS announced Friday that it will limit opioid prescriptions to seven days for certain conditions. This restriction will apply to patients who are new to pain therapy. The new pharmacy program will also limit the daily dosage of pain pills based on their strength and will require use of immediate-release formulations before extended-release opioids -- intended for severe, long-term pain treatment -- are dispensed. The changes will roll out February 1 and cover all commercial, health plan, employer and Medicaid clients. CNN

Bill Clinton's First Novel To Become A Showtime TV Series In Major Deal
The former president and bestselling author James Patterson have selected Showtime to adapt their upcoming thriller, The President Is Missing. The novel, set to be published in 2018, tells the story of a sitting U.S. president’s mysterious disappearance with the level of detail that only someone who has held the highest office can know. Google News

Fearing Eruption, Thousands In Bali Flee From Mount Agung
Thousands of villagers on the Indonesian resort island of Bali were sheltering Saturday in sports centers, village halls and with relatives, fearing Mount Agung will erupt for the first time in more than half a century. Authorities raised the volcano’s alert status to the highest level Friday following a “tremendous increase” in seismic activity. It last erupted in 1963, killing 1,100 people. Villager Made Suda said he left overnight with 25 family members to stay in the Klungkung sports center. Washington Post

Melania Trump Embraces Michelle Obama's Vegetable Garden
It's harvest time for Melania Trump. The first lady, more at home in Manhattan than among rows of crops, hosted local schoolchildren at the White House on Friday to harvest and replant the vegetable garden Michelle Obama rooted in the South Lawn — carrying on a symbolic piece of the Obamas' food policy legacy. Many in food circles had been concerned that Melania Trump and her fast-food-loving husband would not carry on Michelle Obama's expansive kitchen garden, which has become an internationally recognized symbol of local food and the Obama administration's push to promote healthy eating. POLITICO

Trump: 'Russia Did Not Help Me' Win In 2016
President Trump argued Friday that Russians did not cost Hillary Clinton the election in 2016 and called the controversy surrounding Moscow's interference in the presidential race a "hoax." "Russia did not help me, that I can tell you," Trump said during a rally in Huntsville, Ala. on Friday. "I call it the Russian hoax." Trump said Democrats "needed an excuse" following their defeat at most levels of government on Election Day, "so they said, Russia." "I didn't see too many Russians in Pennsylvania,"  Washington Examiner

First Lady Set To Embark On First Solo Trip Outside US
Melania Trump is set to take her biggest step yet as first lady. She's leading the U.S. delegation to an international sporting event for wounded service members, her first solo trip outside of the U.S. to represent her adopted country without President Donald Trump at her side. The daylong stop Saturday in Toronto also includes a brush with royalty. The first lady is scheduled to meet for the first time with Britain's Prince Harry, who founded the Invictus Games in 2014. She was also meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and delivering remarks at a reception for the nearly 100 American athletes participating in the weeklong Olympic-style competition. Mrs. Trump will also attend Saturday's opening ceremony. ABC News

NFL Players Blast Trump Over Saying Kneeling Players Should Be 'Fired'
Players across the NFL wasted no time in reacting to President Donald Trump's condemnation Friday night of those protesting the treatment of minorities in the U.S. by kneeling during the national anthem. The president called on owners to "fire" players who did not stand during the anthem. Trump made the off-the-cuff comments at a rally in Alabama supporting Sen. Luther Strange in his primary bid. "Wouldn’t you love to see one of the NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say 'Get that son of a b---- off the field right now?'" he said to thunderous applause and cheers. ABC News
VOA VIEW: They can continue to kneel and lose for watchers.

Trump At Rally: It's Going To Be "A Little Tougher" To Pass Health Care Without McCain
In the span of more than 80 minutes stumping for U.S. Senate candidate Luther Strange, President Trump managed to slam top leaders in his own party, taunt "little rocket man" North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, use a cuss word to describe NFL player Colin Kaepernick and even question if he made a mistake in picking Strange. Mr. Trump, in a speech that went off script, going from topic to topic, left virtually no stone unturned ahead of Tuesday's Republican primary runoff between Strange and former judge Roy Moore. CBS News

Trump Slams McCain Blocking Obamacare Repeal: ‘Honestly, Terrible’
President Donald Trump slammed Sen. John McCain for opposing efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, vowing at a Friday campaign rally for an Alabama Senate candidate that Republicans would succeed on health care "eventually." The crowd booed as Trump said the opposition from McCain, R-Ariz., who announced on Friday that he would vote against the latest GOP health care bill, was "terrible, honestly, terrible" when he cast the deciding vote against an earlier measure. "That was a totally unexpected thing," Trump told the crowd. The president went on to say that McCain's opposition was "sad." NBC News

Trump, Republicans To Showcase Tax Cut For Businesses
U.S. President Donald Trump and top Republicans in Congress are about to show how aggressively they intend to cut the corporate tax rate, while trying to avoid the appearance of favoring the wealthy. The “Big Six” team of Republican tax policy makers is expected to release a plan on Wednesday targeting tax cuts for businesses, but offering few clues about how to replace reduced federal revenues, said lobbyists and congressional sources. Under pressure from corporate America, the team is expected to call for a corporate income tax target rate possibly within a range of 18-23 percent, down from the current rate of 35 percent. Reuters

China Says North Korean Quake 'Suspected Explosion'
China’s earthquake administration said on Saturday it had detected a magnitude 3.4 earthquake in North Korea that was a “suspected explosion”, raising fears the isolated state had conducted another nuclear bomb test. The administration said in a statement on its website that the quake, which occurred around 0830 GMT, was recorded a depth of zero kilometers. Previous quakes from North Korea have indicated nuclear tests by the reclusive state, the most recent earlier this month. The earthquake was detected in Kilju county in North Hamgyong Province, where North Korea’s known Punggyeri nuclear site is located, according to South Korea’s meteorological agency. Reuters

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