NEWS   WEDNEDAY, SEPTEMBER  27, 2017   NEWS

Puerto Rico Struggles To Recover As Trump Plans Visit
Puerto Rico is in the throes of a full-blown "humanitarian crisis," with washed-out roads, downed power lines and damaged infrastructure -- a scene President Trump intends to view first hand next week. Trump, who has been criticized for not focusing more on Puerto Rico in the days following the devastating Category 3 storm, said Tuesday the federal government is working hard to get food and water to the U.S. territory, saying the island was “hit as hard as you can hit.” “Those people are very important to all of us,” he said.  Fox
VOA VIEW: Puerto Rico has its own problems of being an island and hit very hard by a  major storm.

Trump Vows Tremendous Middle-Class Tax Cuts, Millions Of Jobs With New Tax Plan
President Trump on Tuesday previewed a major tax reform plan being rolled out by him and congressional Republicans, vowing tremendous middle-class tax cuts and lower corporate rates that will create “millions of new jobs for Americans.” Trump made the announcement after a White House meeting with Democrats and Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee. The president has vowed since his 2016 White House campaign to overhaul the U.S. tax code. And now that Senate Republicans appear to have failed this week to fulfill another Trump campaign promise -- dismantling ObamaCare -- the president seems full steam ahead on tax reform. Fox

Senate Won't Vote On GOP Health Care Bill
The Senate will not vote on the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal Obamacare, Republican leaders announced Tuesday. The decision is another blow to President Donald Trump's attempts to repeal Obamacare, a long-time Republican campaign promise and a centerpiece of his legislative agenda. Trump is now also floating the idea of working with Democrats on changes to the health care law, repeating his budget deal he reached earlier this month.  CNN
VOA VIEW: Republicans lost credibility and four will lose more.

What Doctors Want From Health Care Reform As Latest Congressional Effort Falters
As the latest Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act begins its death rattle, a growing number of physicians worry that any solution Washington proposes will not fix the nation's ailing health care system. "Forget Republican or Democrat, when I look at the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or the Graham-Cassidy pathway, it doesn't matter," said Dr. Brian Hill, an Atlanta urologist, "because they are both doing a miserable job in helping people get health care."  CNN
VOA VIEW: A Republican loss is a CNN happiness.

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Trump Says U.S. Is Ready To Use ‘Devastating’ Force On North Korea
President Donald Trump said the U.S. is prepared to use “devastating” military force against North Korea but encouraged the world to work together to end the country’s nuclear program as he imposed new sanctions on the country’s banks. “We are totally prepared for the second option -- not a preferred option -- but if we take that option it will be devastating I can tell you that,” Trump said during a joint news conference Tuesday at the White House with Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: Sad, but very true.

NCAA Coaches And Staff Charged In Kickback Scandal
Top-tier college basketball programs were thrown into turmoil Tuesday as federal prosecutors unveiled criminal charges against 10 coaches, managers, financial advisers and representatives of sportswear companies including Adidas AG, accusing them of making illicit payments to cash in on the vast riches generated at the sport’s highest levels. The alleged schemes include illicit payoffs to steer young athletes to powerhouse schools and into clothing contracts and financial advisory deals. Among those charged were current and former coaching staff members at Oklahoma State University, the University of Arizona, the University of Southern California and the University of South Carolina. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: This is a very serious problem.

Trump Wants Rule To Stop NFL Players From Kneeling During Anthem
President Trump continued his rant against NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem, suggesting in a tweet this morning that the NFL should bar players from kneeling. Earlier today he slammed the NFL's ratings, saying they were "way down," except for when audiences tune in to see whether there are protests during the national anthem. Today is the fourth consecutive day that he has openly criticized the league and its players. He also commented on Monday night's Dallas Cowboys–Arizona Cardinals game. ABC News
VOA VIEW: The NFP will lose.

Otto Warmbier Was 'Blind And Deaf' When He Returned To The US From North Korea, Parents Say
When Otto Warmbier, the American college student who was imprisoned in North Korea for 17 months, returned home to Ohio last June on an airplane, he was blind, deaf and "jerking violently, making these inhuman sounds," his parents said today in an interview. "We thought he was in a coma, but you couldn't call it a coma," his mother, Cindy Warmbier, said on Fox News' "Fox & Friends." "What we pictured ... was that Otto would be asleep and maybe in a medically-induced coma. And then when our doctors here would work with him, and he'd get the best care and love, that he would come out of it."ABC News

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Puerto Rico Mayor Pleads For Help After Hurricane Maria: "People Are Dying"
The mayor of Puerto Rico's capital pleaded on Tuesday for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cut red tape and start distributing food and water on the U.S. territory left devastated by Hurricane Maria. "We need to get our s--- together because people are dying," San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz said on CBSN. "People are really dying." Cruz told CBS News correspondent David Begnaud that two people who were on life support in a hospital died on Monday because the hospital ran out of diesel fuel that was powering its generators. "It's life or death," Cruz said. CBS News

Trump Administration Sanctions North Korean Banks, Bank Workers
The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is targeting eight North Korean banks and 26 individuals "linked to North Korean financial networks" in response to the regime's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and its ongoing violations of UN Security Council resolutions, the Treasury Department said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. The North Korean nationals singled out operate in China, Russia, Libya and the UAE and function as representatives of North Korean banks, the statement said. CBS News

Sessions Defends Trump: NFL Kneelers Made ‘Big Mistake’
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday that National Football League players who took a knee during the national anthem made "a big mistake" and he added that President Donald Trump had every right to call them out. “I agree that it’s a big mistake to protest in that fashion,” Sessions said during a lecture about the importance of free speech on college campuses at the Georgetown University Law Center, adding that the players' action "weakens the commitment we have to the nation that has provided us this freedom." The Attorney General also strongly defended the president for speaking out on the issue. "The president has free speech rights, too," Sessions said. "He sends soldiers out every day to defend this country under the flag of the United States." NBC News

Roy Moore Defeats Trump-Backed Luther Strange
Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was projected to soundly defeat Sen. Luther Strange in Tuesday's Senate primary runoff, overcoming heavy GOP establishment support for the incumbent, including from President Trump himself. The hard-fought Alabama runoff battle had pitted Trump against some of his most loyal supporters including former chief strategist Steve Bannon, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and a slew of House conservatives who all backed Moore. Despite his outsider image, Moore seemed to have the edge over Strange from the start. With 92 percent of the precincts reporting, Moore led Strange by 55 percent to 45 percent, a margin of more than 41,000 votes. State officials estimated a low turnout of between 12 and 15 percent of eligible voters. Fox
VOA VIEW: The people's choice was made and Trump stayed loyal knowing the odds.

Trump Pulls Jamaica's Usain Bolt Into National Anthem Debate
Not even the world's fastest man could outrun the national anthem debate that's raging in the U.S. President Donald Trump late Tuesday tweeted a 2012 video that shows Jamaica's Usain Bolt cutting off an interview so he can stand in silence for "The Star-Spangled Banner." “Even Usain Bolt from Jamaica, one of the greatest runners and athletes of all time, showed RESPECT for our National Anthem,” Trump tweeted.  Fox
VOA VIEW: Respect is right.

Russia Exploited America’s Racial Division Problem In The Election
America has a race problem. And Russia knows it. But does President Trump know how to help solve it or is he invested in making it worse? The Washington Post reported Monday that Russia bought more than 3,000 ads on Facebook aimed at capitalizing on racial and other social divides in the United States. Some of the ads supported Black Lives Matter and other groups bringing attention to the tense relationship between law enforcement and people of color. Washington Post

Black Lives Or Bottom Line? Activists Ask What N.F.L. Protests Are All About
While a debate over professional football players kneeling during the national anthem consumed much of the country over the weekend, a scene was playing out around St. Louis that drew far less notice. There, demonstrators protested the acquittal of a white former police officer in the fatal 2011 shooting of a black man, marching inside a mall and through the streets in daily protests over the case for more than a week. Around the country, racial justice activists are concerned that the essential issues they have spent years trying to highlight — police brutality and systemic racism — could get lost in the growing national dialogue emerging from football stadiums. NY Times

Saudi Arabia Agrees To Let Women Drive
Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday that it would allow women to drive, ending a longstanding policy that has become a global symbol of the oppression of women in the ultraconservative kingdom. The change, which will take effect in June 2018, was announced in a royal decree read live on state television and in a simultaneous media event in Washington. The decision highlights the damage that the ban on women driving has done to the kingdom’s international reputation and its hopes for a public relations benefit from the reform. NY Times

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Roger Stone Denies Russian Collusion In Combative Statement
Longtime Donald Trump ally Roger Stone denied any involvement with Russia during the 2016 presidential election and accused the House panel investigating the interference of making “irresponsible” and “provably false statements” during an interview with lawmakers Tuesday. "I am aware of no evidence whatsoever of collusion by the Russian state or anyone in the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with Donald Trump," Stone told reporters after a nearly four-hour interview with members of the House intelligence committee. NBC News

Ryan Says 'Tax Reform Is Most Important Thing'
House Speaker Paul Ryan told a news conference Tuesday that Republican leaders in the House, Senate and White House have "come together” on a “concrete framework for historic tax reform." The rollout begins tomorrow, when Republican leaders brief their caucus about the plan. “People need relief, and we know this,” Ryan said. He said the plan will focus on relief for the middle class and for businesses that require lower taxes as an incentive to stay in this country and create higher-paying jobs. CNS News
VOA VIEW: Smart position.

Catholic League President Tells Goodell: 'You Should Be Fired'
Catholic League President Bill Donohue has written a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell--regarding the controversy over players not standing for the national anthem--telling him that he should be fired. Donohue also told Goodell he was sending him "my Giants lawn flag as a token of my disgust for you." Below is the full text of Donohue's letter to Goodell: Dear Mr. Goodell: You are responsible for the polarization in the NFL. Had you invoked the NFL rule regarding inappropriate apparel, you would have sanctioned Colin Kaepernick for wearing socks depicting the police as pigs. CNS News

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Answering Critics, Trump Defends Puerto Rico Aid Effort
President Donald Trump said on Tuesday his administration was doing a “really good job” helping Puerto Rico recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria despite complaints that federal aid has been too slow to reach the U.S. territory. Trump agreed to boost federal disaster aid to the island, increasing funding to assist with debris removal and emergency protective measures. Reuters

Students Protest U.S. Attorney General Speech At Georgetown
Students and faculty at Georgetown Law School gathered on Tuesday to protest that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was delivering an address about the right of free speech on college campuses to an invitation-only audience without giving critics of the Trump administration an opportunity to ask questions. Several dozen protesters stood on the front steps of the school, some with duct tape over their mouths to symbolize that they felt their views were censored from the event. Reuters

Justice Department Moves To Quash Designated ‘Free Speech Zones’ At Public Colleges
The Justice Department is thrusting itself into the raging debate about free speech on college campuses, filing a statement of interest Tuesday in a case challenging the establishment of “free speech zones” on the campus of a public university in Georgia. The case was brought by Georgia Gwinnett College student Chike Uzuegbunam, who said his First Amendment rights were violated when university officials told him he could not distribute fliers about his Christian faith unless he did so in one of the school’s two “free speech expression areas,” and even then he’d be required to get advance approval. Washington Times

Trump's Recent Tweets Supporting Luther Strange Deleted After Projected Loss
President Donald Trump's most recent tweets urging Alabamians to vote for Sen. Luther Strange disappeared from his verified Twitter account Tuesday night, after the candidate was projected to lose the Republican primary runoff for a Senate seat. Three recent Trump tweets about Strange were deleted Tuesday night, according to ProPublica, which tracks deleted tweets. This came shortly after Strange appeared headed for a loss, despite Trump's efforts to help the candidate. The deleted tweets had touted Trump's personal endorsement of Strange. CNN
VOA VIEW: Liberal anti Trump CNN would make Strange's defeat a referendum on Trump.

U.S. Slaps Stiff Tariff On Bombardier's New Jet
The U.S. Commerce Department has backed Boeing in its challenge to Bombardier, recommending an enormous tariff on sales of the Canadian firm's C Series jetliner. The initial ruling by the International Trade Commission, an arm of the Commerce Department, recommends a 219.63% tariff on the delivery of each airliner. Boeing (BA), America's largest exporter and sole producer of commercial airliners, is suing Bombardier. At issue is whether the plane maker received financial backing from the Canadian government that allowed it to stay afloat and sell to Delta for what Boeing alleges were "absurdly low prices." CNN

Trump Will Let Congress Decide On Tax Rate For Top Earners
President Donald Trump and Republican leaders will launch an urgent effort to get a major legislative win this year, announcing a long-awaited tax plan that will immediately set off a fight over how much top earners should pay. The framework they’re set to release Wednesday proposes cutting the top individual rate to 35 percent -- but leaves it up to Congress to decide whether to create a higher bracket for those at the top of the income scale. Bloomberg

There’s One North Korea Taboo China’s Leaders Won’t Talk About
In discussions between the U.S. and China about reining in North Korea, one topic remains taboo: What would happen if Kim Jong Un’s regime collapses? For years, China has rebuffed U.S. attempts to raise the topic at so-called Track 2 dialogue sessions between academics in each country’s foreign policy establishment, according to Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington, who has led the U.S. side in such talks.  Bloomberg

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U.S. Cannot ‘Discount The Possibility’ Of War With North Korea, Says Gen. McMaster
The U.S. and its allies in the Pacific must steel themselves for the realistic possibility of open warfare with North Korea, National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster said Monday, hours after the country’s top diplomat claimed the growing war of words between the White House and Pyongyang was tantamount to a declaration of war. Speaking at a national security symposium in Washington sponsored by the Institute for the Study of War, Gen. McMaster laid bare the dire situation the Trump administration has now found itself in regarding the threat posed by North Korea.  Washington Times

Senators Say They'll Protect Mueller If Trump's Russia Ire Heats Up
Republican and Democratic senators said Tuesday they would remain vigilant to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired, even as President Donald Trump has slightly lowered the temperature about his discontent over the Russia probe. Two bills introduced in August are designed to safeguard the independent prosecutor, whose investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election has roused Trump's public and private frustration. POLITICO

Bannon To Alabama: 'They Think You're A Pack Of Morons'
Steve Bannon barreled onstage at a raucous rally inside a barn here to deliver a warning to the national Republican establishment ahead of Tuesday’s special Senate election: I’m just getting started. In a thundering 20-minute speech Monday night that was partly a rally for insurgent Senate candidate Roy Moore but equally a declaration of war on the Republican Party hierarchy, Bannon made clear that this next act of his political career could make the Republican civil war of recent years look tame. POLITICO

Special Counsel Probing Flow Of Russian-American Money To Trump Political Funds
Three Americans with significant Russian business connections contributed almost $2 million to political funds controlled by Donald Trump, ABC News has learned. The timing of contributions coming from US citizens with ties to Russia is now being questioned by investigators for special counsel Robert Mueller, according to a Republican campaign aide interviewed by Mueller’s team. Unless the contributions were directed by a foreigner, they would be legal, but could still be of interest to investigators examining allegations of Russian influence in the 2016 campaign, said Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. ABC News
VOA VIEW: More anti Trump liberal rhetoric.

Trump Border Wall Construction Begins
Homeland Security said it began construction Tuesday on the prototypes for President Trump’s new border wall. In a short notice, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the building began in San Diego on eight prototypes, which had been awarded over the summer. Four of the prototypes are concrete walls and four are nonconcrete designs, all selected from dozens of proposals submitted by contractors earlier this year. “We are committed to securing our border, and that includes constructing border walls,” said Ronald Vitiello, acting deputy commissioner at CBP.  Washington Times

Price’s Private-Jet Travels
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price took a government-funded private jet in August to get to St. Simons Island, an exclusive Georgia resort where he and his wife own land, a day and a half before he addressed a group of local doctors at a medical conference that he and his wife have long attended. The St. Simons Island trip was one of two taxpayer-funded flights on private jets in which Price traveled to places where he owns property, and paired official visits with meetings with longtime colleagues and family members. On June 6, HHS chartered a jet to fly Price to Nashville, Tennessee, where he owns a condominium and where his son resides. Price toured a medicine dispensary and spoke to a local health summit organized by a longtime friend. He also had lunch with his son. POLITICO

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Fire Chief Removed After Posting Racial Slur At Steelers Coach
Volunteer fire chief Paul Smith resigned from his position Tuesday in wake of a shocking message he posted on Facebook using a racial slur, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In a statement to the newspaper, Smith said, "The media dragged my fire company and township into this as well as my family." Smith's Facebook message grabbed national headlines and came amid the fallout after the Pittsburgh Steelers game Sunday, when the team decided to stay in the tunnel at Chicago's Soldier Field during the national anthem. CBS News

Food, Water, Power, Gasoline Desperately Needed In Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is pleading for help six days after Hurricane Maria hit the island with a vengeance. Food, water, gasoline and electricity are are all needed desperately by the island's nearly 3.5 million residents. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz is at her wits end trying to find help, CBS News' David Begnaud reports from the capital city. "I know that leaders aren't supposed to cry, and especially not on TV, but we are having a humanitarian crisis here," Mayor Cruz told CBS News. Now, some survivors are facing a second brush with death. CBS News

Obamacare Repeal Failed, But Some Of The Damage Is Already Done
Graham-Cassidy is officially over for now after Senate leaders announced they would not bring it up for a vote. But the damage to the health insurance market from the lengthy repeal debate is done — with higher premiums and fewer choices already baked into Obamacare’s 2018 exchanges. Now Republican leaders and President Donald Trump have to decide what to do about it. NBC News

Poll: Democrats Can’t Take Millennial Vote For Granted
Millennials overwhelmingly disapprove of the way President Donald Trump is handling his job and they don't have a favorable view of the Republican Party. But Democrats shouldn't celebrate just yet, according to results from the first NBC News/GenForward Survey. A majority of millennials, 64 percent, disapprove of Trump's job performance, while 58 percent said they have an unfavorable view of the Republican Party.  NBC News
VOA VIEW: A liberal poll that can be disputed.

Mattis Arrives In Afghanistan Hours After Rockets Explode At Kabul Airport
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis arrived in the Afghan capital on an unannounced visit on Wednesday hours after several small rockets exploded in and around Kabul airport, police said. There were no reports of casualties or damage in the attack which for which Islamic State claimed responsibility. Mattis’s visit comes after U.S. President Donald Trump announced a new strategy for Afghanistan, promising a stepped-up military campaign against Taliban insurgents who have gained ground as they seek to reestablish Islamic law after their 2001 ouster. Reuters

U.S. SEC Chair Grilled By Senate Over Cyber Breach
The chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) told a congressional committee on Tuesday he did not believe his predecessor Mary Jo White knew of a 2016 cyber breach to the regulator’s corporate disclosure system, the exact timing of which could not be known “for sure.” Jay Clayton, who was formally appointed to his role in May, also said listed companies should disclose more detailed information on cyber breaches “sooner,” and that the U.S. regulator was working on new guidelines to ensure this. Reuters

Trump Cuts Obama’s Refugee Target In Half
President Trump, in just eight months in office, has succeeded in upending U.S. refugee policy, cutting by more than half the 110,000-refugee target that the Obama administration had bequeathed him and dramatically shifting the demographics of who is accepted. Gone is President Obama’s overwhelming focus on Muslims, and particularly on Syrians fleeing a civil war that his administration facilitated. Under Mr. Trump, the rate of Syrian refugees has been cut by more than 80 percent, and Christians have overtaken Muslims in total refugees resettled. The Washington Times

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