NEWS   SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER  30, 2017   NEWS

HHS Secretary Tom Price Resigns Over Private plane Trips
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned on Friday amid widespread criticism of his private plane trips, becoming the first Trump Cabinet secretary to leave the administration. “Secretary of Health and Human Services Thomas Price offered his resignation earlier today and the president accepted,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. The White House said Trump will designate Don J. Wright as acting secretary. Wright currently serves as deputy assistant secretary for health and director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Fox
VOA VIEW: You have to pay when you make a major mistake.

Cops Using Sneakers To Spot MS-13 Members, Gang Leader Says
Forget the faces covered with tattoos. The gang signs. Even the guns and knives sticking out of their jeans. The real way to spot an MS-13 gangster is by his sneakers. A top leader of the notoriously violent gang told associates in the U.S. to ditch their footwear, because that's how law enforcement was identifying members. In a racketeering indictment unsealed Thursday,  Fox

A Week After Maria’s Strike, Puerto Rico Remains Offline
Most of Puerto Rico remained cut off from cellphone and internet services more than a week after Hurricane Maria tore through the territory, a communications outage that has hampered other relief efforts. According to the Federal Communications Commission, 89% of Puerto Rico’s cellphone sites were offline Friday, mostly because of electricity blackouts across the island. The same high winds that ripped down power lines also took out copper and fiber-optic lines linking cell towers to the outside world, which could make restoring service especially hard in the days ahead. The Wall Street Journal
VOA VIEW: PR was hit hard and they have little finances.

Racial Slurs Written On Dorm Room Boards Of Black Air Force Academy Cadet Candidates
Lt. Col. Allen Herritage, director of public affairs for the academy, said the slurs were discovered Monday. One cadet candidate’s mother posted a photo on her Facebook page Wednesday that shows the words “go home n*****r” written on the white board outside her son’s room. “This is why I'm so hurt!” the mother said in her post, which was at first public but then taken offline Thursday. “These young people are supposed to bond and protect each other and the country. Who would my son have to watch out for? The enemy or the enemy?” In an interview with Air Force Times, that cadet candidate’s father said his son is doing fine in the wake of the racial slur incident, which he called “utter stupidity.” Air Force Times
VOA VIEW: Who wrote the dumb words - was it a white or black person.

Lost Weekend: How Trump’s Time At His Golf Club Hurt The Response To Maria
At first, the Trump administration seemed to be doing all the right things to respond to the disaster in Puerto Rico. As Hurricane Maria made landfall on Wednesday, Sept. 20, there was a frenzy of activity publicly and privately. The next day, President Trump called local officials on the island, issued an emergency declaration and pledged that all federal resources would be directed to help. But then for four days after that — as storm-ravaged Puerto Rico struggled for food and water amid the darkness of power outages — Trump and his top aides effectively went dark themselves. Washington Post

Meet The Air Force General Who Delivered A Powerful Speech Against Racism
Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria had an important message for U.S. Air Force Academy cadets at a moment of crisis. Five black cadet candidates at the academy’s preparatory school in Colorado Springs had found racial slurs written on the message boards on their doors. Silveria, who took over as the school’s superintendent in August, urged cadets to reach for their phones. “I want you to videotape this so you have it, so you can use it — so that we all have the moral courage together,” he said, surrounded by 1,500 of the academy’s faculty, administrators and athletic coaches.  Washington Post

Is North Korea The 4th Most Sanctioned Nation?
Amid a war of words between the United States and North Korea, Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., took to the Sunday shows to argue Washington should apply more pressure to Pyongyang. While the United States has recently dialed up sanctions against Kim Jong Un’s regime, Gardner argued they could go further. "(North Korea) is now the fifth or fourth most sanctioned nation," Gardner said, "meaning that we have a long ways to go to continue to ratchet up the economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea and the enablers of North Korea." We decided to investigate how sanctions against North Korea compare with those targeting other countries. Politifact

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One Dead As Two Major Rockfalls In Two Days Rattle Yosemite’s El Capitan
At least one man is dead following a dramatic series of rockslides at Yosemite’s iconic El Capitan on Wednesday. A second “significantly larger” rockfall occurred a day later, dropping thousands of tons of rock to the forest floor below. For a period of four hours on Wednesday, a series of seven rockfalls occurred on the Southeast face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. It all started at 1:52 pm local time, and as around 30 climbers were making an ascent nearby. Preliminary estimates suggest the total volume of all seven rockfalls is about 16,000 cubic feet, representing about 1,300 tons. Google News

Responding To Puerto Rico’s Disaster Is Uniquely Complex. But Trump Is Still Falling Short.
A week on from Hurricane Maria’s landfall, Puerto Rico remains objectively devastated. Amid growing criticism, President Trump and acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke have forcefully defended the administration’s response, arguing the crisis conditions reflect unique challenges in Puerto Rico. Duke on Thursday proclaimed herself “very satisfied” with the response so far, calling it “a good news story.” Washington Post
VOA VIEW: Liberal hogwash.

Jury Awards Over $274M In Billboard Defamation Case
The owner of a New Hampshire mortgage company who used electronic billboards to accuse three businessmen of crimes is liable for $274.5 million in damages in a defamation lawsuit against him, a jury found Friday. The plaintiffs' lawyer said he believes the jury award is the largest in the state's history. In 2013, a jury found Exxon Mobil must pay $236 million to help clean groundwater contaminated with a gasoline additive known as MTBE. Michael Gill, head of The Mortgage Specialists, has targeted other businessmen, politicians, lawyers, and judges in his electronic signs through the years. He put up images of an auto dealer CEO, a banker and a developer, accompanied by the words "drug dealer" and "extortion," on a large billboard outside his Manchester office off a busy highway. He also made similar references to them online and on radio and television. US News & World Report

DOJ Demands Facebook Information From 'Anti-Administration Activists'
Trump administration lawyers are demanding the private account information of potentially thousands of Facebook users in three separate search warrants served on the social media giant, according to court documents obtained by CNN. The warrants specifically target the accounts of three Facebook users who are described by their attorneys as "anti-administration activists who have spoken out at organized events, and who are generally very critical of this administration's policies."  CNN
VOA VIEW: Liberal CNN propaganda.

Abadi Accepts French Invitation To Paris For Talks On Kurdish Situation
-Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has accepted an invitation from French President Emmanuel Macron to go to Paris for talks on the Kurdish referendum and the prevention of any escalation, according to the office of the French president. Citing a source from Macron's office, Reuters reported that Abadi is to travel to Paris on October 5. According to the news report the French president has "offered to help ease tensions between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government over Monday’s referendum," The Kurdistan Region voted by an overwhelming 92 percent on Monday to separate from Iraq and form an independent Kurdish state. Rudaw

Officials Praise Large Gang Roundups In US, Central America
Authorities in the U.S. and Central America say they have indicted thousands of violent street gang members since March, including a powerful MS-13 leader who allegedly ordered bloodshed on the East Coast while imprisoned in El Salvador. Law enforcement officials planned to announce the arrests Friday in Miami, where Justice Department officials are meeting with attorneys general from the so-called Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. New Jersey Herald

Trump To Visit Asia In November, North Korea In Spotlight
Donald Trump will travel to Asia in November for the first time since becoming president, stopping in Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines on a trip expected to be dominated by the North Korea nuclear threat. Joined by his wife Melania, Trump will travel Nov. 3-14. His visit will include attending two major summits, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vietnam and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations conclave in the Philippines.  Reuters

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State Department Orders More Than Half Its Staff Out Of Cuba After 'Specific Attacks'
The State Department has ordered more than half of its staff in Cuba to leave after at least 21 Americans were victims of what senior U.S. officials call "specific attacks." The order applies to all nonessential U.S. Embassy personnel and their families. The department also issued a warning on Friday advising Americans not to travel to Cuba. In August, the State Department revealed that a number of U.S. diplomats in Cuba had been the target of what Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described at the time as "health attacks" — but details have been sketchy at best.  NPR

Police Detective Killed, Other Officer Wounded In Ga. Shooting
A police detective was fatally shot and another officer wounded after a suspected gunman opened fire in rural Georgia. Seth Brandon Spangler was wanted for a probation violation before Polk County officer Kristin Hearne was shot and killed on Friday morning, according to Sheriff Kenny Dodd. A second officer, David Goodrich, was shot but saved from serious injury by his bulletproof vest. The pair were investigating reports of a stolen car Friday morning when they encountered Spangler and Samantha Roof, 22, at the edge of a woody area near Cedartown, close to the Alabama border. NY Daily News

Renewed Calls For Patriotism Over Politics When Drawing District Lines
Van Wanggaard was elected to the Wisconsin state Senate in 2010 as a Republican. A year later, the Republicans in control of the Legislature redrew the district lines as part of the redistricting process that happens every 10 years. Wanggaard's district was one that was dramatically reconfigured to strengthen the GOP's hold on power. Urban parts of the district that were filled with Democratic voters were sliced off, and areas filled with Republican voters were added. What had once been a competitive seat became safely Republican. Perhaps what's most striking about the redrawn district is where the line runs — it carefully cuts around Wanggaard's house, before sawing off neighbors a few houses down and dumping them into Democratic-leaning territory. NPR
VOA VIEW: Democrats play the same game.

What Whole Foods Hasn't Said About Its Payment Card Data Breach
On Thursday Whole Foods publicly revealed that a data breach had potentially compromised its customers’ credit card details. But a day later, we still know nothing about which customers, or how many of them, may have been affected. In response to Gizmodo’s inquiry on Thursday, Whole Foods declined to say how many of its stores may have been involved or where they were located.  Google News

Rick Perry Just Proposed A Massive Change In Electricity Policy
Energy Secretary Rick Perry took sweeping steps on Friday to buttress a pair of financially-strapped nuclear plants under construction and redefine how coal and nuclear plants are compensated for the electricity they provide — a move that, if agreed to by independent federal energy regulators, could tilt some of the nation’s complex power markets away from renewables and natural gas. Perry announced the Energy Department would provide $3.7 billion in loan guarantees to three Georgia utilities struggling to complete a pair of nuclear reactors at the Alvin W. Vogtle generating plant. Washington Post

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Amazon’s Echo Devices Can Now Call Mobile Numbers And Landlines For Free
In case you missed the announcement during Amazon’s very busy hardware event earlier this week, the Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show have all gained the ability to place voice calls to numbers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico for free. If you want to receive calls from regular numbers, you’ll need the new $35 Connect box that Amazon unveiled on Wednesday, which also allows you to use your home telephone number for Echo calls and dial emergency services like 911 or premium rate / international numbers. The Wire

Daily Presidential Tracking Poll
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows that 45% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Fifty-four percent (54%) disapprove. The latest figures include 29% who Strongly Approve of the way Trump is performing and 46% who Strongly Disapprove. This gives him a Presidential Approval Index rating of -17. (see trends). Rasmussen Reports
VOA VIEW: Trump's approval ratings are much higher than reported.

Trump's Tax Plan Is Already In Trouble With His Own Party
As President Trump prepares to sell his tax plan to the nation's manufacturing lobby on Friday, his best-laid tax plans have already drawn objections from some fellow Republicans who are fuming over the decision to end deductions for state and local income taxes. The situation will pit the White House against members of Congress from states that pile high income taxes on top of what the federal government takes from paychecks. High-income Californians, for instance, pay as much as 13.3 per cent of their income to the state in addition to their federal taxes. New Yorkers can pay up to 8.82 per cent. Just seven U.S. states have no personal income taxes, including Texas, Florida and Nevada. Daily Mail UK

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VW's Dieselgate Bill Hits $30 BLN After Another Charge
Volkswagen is taking another $3 billion charge to fix diesel engines in the United States, lifting the total bill for its emissions-test cheating scandal to around $30 billion. The German group is struggling to put the two-year-old “Dieselgate” scandal behind it, and working to transform itself into a maker of mass-market electric cars. On Thursday, Munich prosecutors said they had arrested a former Porsche management board member, the first top executive within the group to be detained amid a widening probe into cheating at VW’s Audi brand. Reuters

Dow Posts First 8-Quarter Win Streak In 20 Years
Market Wrap: Dow posts first 8-quarter winning streak in 20 years Market Wrap: Dow posts first 8-quarter winning streak in 20 years. The S&P 500 closed at a record Friday, helped by gains in technology stocks on the last trading day of the quarter. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite rose more than half a percent to post its 50th record close for this year. The Dow transports and small-cap Russell 2000 also hit record highs. The Dow Jones industrial average closed up nearly 24 points, within 0.1 percent of its record high. Goldman Sachs contributed to the most to gains in the index.  CNBC
 

No, Oprah Is Not Running For President
Oprah Winfrey insists she will not be running for president. The former queen of daytime TV set off media firestorm Friday after tweeting a New York Post article that proclaimed her as “Democrats’ best hope” in 2020. “She was just thanking the reporter, she is not running for office,” a publicist for Winfrey told TheWrap on Friday. In his op-ed, Post columnist John Podhoretz praised Winfrey’s “60 Minutes” piece last Sunday and how she handled a heated debate between Michigan voters on both sides of aisle. The Wrap

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Julian Assange Says He Will Provide Evidence Russia Narrative Is False In Exchange For Pardon
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has offered to provide evidence that the Russian collusion narrative is false in exchange for a pardon from President Trump. The president, apparently, has not yet gotten the message. On Saturday, President Trump told reporters that he has "never heard" of Assange's offer to make a deal. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) told The Daily Caller that Trump is being blocked from knowing about the potential deal with Assange. “I think the president’s answer indicates that there is a wall around him that is being created by people who do not want to expose this fraud that there was collusion between our intelligence community and the leaders of the Democratic Party,” Rohrabacher said. PJ Media

Special Counsel Robert Mueller Has Assembled A Team Of 16 Seasoned Prosecutors
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has assembled a team of more than a dozen seasoned prosecutors to probe Russian interference in the 2016 election, including any potential collusion between Russian agents and members of Donald Trump’s campaign. In addition to a squad of agents from the FBI and the IRS, Mueller has 16 attorneys on staff, a spokesperson for Special Counsel Robert Mueller confirmed to ABC News, but only 14 of them have been identified publicly. ABC News

Saints QB Brees Says Team Will Kneel, Then Stand For Anthem
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees says the team will kneel and then stand for the national anthem before their game against Miami in London. Brees says in a tweet on Friday, “As a way to show respect to all, our #Saints team will kneel in solidarity prior to the national anthem & stand together during the anthem.” That’s also how the Dallas Cowboys dealt with their anthem protest on Monday night in a game against the Arizona Cardinals. Ten Saints players sat on the bench during the anthem last Sunday on a day of unprecedented protests among NFL players and some owners in response to comments by President Donald Trump that players should be fired if anyone “disrespects our flag.” CBS News

Donald Trump's Tax Returns Are About To Come Back With A Vengeance
When Donald Trump unveiled his tax-reform proposal on Wednesday in Indianapolis, he promised the audience that his plan wouldn't help people like him. At all. "Our framework includes our explicit commitment that tax reform will protect low-income and middle-income households, not the wealthy and well-connected," Trump promised. "They can call me all they want. It's not going to help. I'm doing the right thing, and it's not good for me. Believe me." You'll have to take his word for it because there is simply no way of checking to see if Trump is telling the truth about the tax plan's impact on his own bottom line.  CNN

Deportations Slow Under Trump Despite Increase In Arrests By ICE
Despite President Trump’s push for tougher immigration enforcement, U.S. agents are on pace to deport fewer people in the government’s 2017 fiscal year than during the same period last year, the latest statistics show. Trump took office pledging to round up as many as 3 million drug dealers, gang members and other criminals he said were living in the United States illegally. But the most recent figures from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) indicate the government may be having a hard time finding enough eligible “bad hombres,” as the president described them, to quickly meet those targets. Washington Post

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Former Bank Teller Pleads Guilty To Stealing Almost $200,000 From Homeless Customer
A onetime bank teller in Washington, D.C., stole tens of thousands of dollars from a homeless customer who earned money as a street vendor, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Phelon Davis, 29, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to a charge of interstate transportation of stolen property, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. Davis was working as a teller at a Wells Fargo branch in the upscale neighborhood of Georgetown, reports The Washington Post. In October 2014, a longtime bank customer, who was not named in court filings, tried to deposit thousands of dollars from a garbage bag into one of his accounts, but the accounts had gone dormant owing to inactivity. NPR

Apple Mac Firmware Updates Are Quietly Failing And No One Knows Why
Even if you keep your software up to date, your computer may be hiding vulnerable, outdated code within its deepest recesses that hackers can exploit to totally compromise your machine—leaving you none the wiser. The issue has to do with firmware, programming written directly onto the metal of a machine that controls hardware. Firmware sits beneath the operating system at a level of privilege that, when accessed by an attacker, grants free-ranging, undetectable hacking powers. This layer is so deep that even installing a new operating system or replacing a hard disk will not rescue an affected machine. Fortune

Hannity Beats Maddow In First Week Of 9 p.m. Showdown
In the first week of the head-to-head battle between Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow, the conservative heavyweight drew significantly higher ratings than his liberal counterpart. Fox News moved Hannity’s show from 10 p.m. to 9 p.m. as part of a broader shakeup of its prime-time line-up, designed in part to counter a dramatic ratings surge by rival MSNBC, led by Maddow, the biggest ratings winner of the Trump era. Hannity pulled out all the stops, bringing in Steve Bannon, Bill O’Reilly, Paul Ryan and Rush Limbaugh to boost his numbers. POLITICO

Flight Furor: Obama Officials Also Took Pricey, Non-Commercial Planes
The use of private planes by President Trump’s Cabinet has come under intense media scrutiny in recent days, but officials in the Obama administration also took pricey flights on the government’s dime, including for personal trips. Top figures during President Barack Obama’s tenure who used non-commercial planes for travel included then-attorney generals Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, then-FBI director Robert Mueller, and then-CIA director and defense secretary Leon Panetta. Because of their jobs, these officials were required to take government planes for security and communications purposes. Fox
VOA VIEW: Wrong is wrong - regardless what other liberal presidents allow.

110 Million Americans Have STDs At Any Given Time
While the national media focus on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the patient in Dallas, the CDC is reminding Americans that sexually transmitted diseases are an ongoing but hidden epidemic. In the United States, nearly 20 million cases of new STD infections are reported each year, reports Live Science. Since infections can persist for a long time, and because some victims are not even aware they have a disease and can easily spread it to others.  CBS News

In Libya Strike, Military Shows New Lethal Powers Under Trump
U.S. forces in Africa this week staged what would have been an otherwise unremarkable attack against Islamic State extremists but for one key detail: The operation was the first to rely on authorities granted under the Trump administration that allow the military to conduct lethal strikes outside a designated war zone and without explicit White House approval in advance. An airstrike carried out on Tuesday in Libya killed "several" fighters from the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, according to a Thursday statement from U.S. Africa Command. US News & World Report

Trump Interviews Four For Fed Chair Job, To Decide In Two-Three Weeks
U.S. President Donald Trump is ramping up his search for a new chief for the U.S. central bank, meeting with former Federal Reserve Governor Kevin Warsh and three others and promising a decision next month. “I’ve had four meetings for Fed chairman and I’ll be making a decision over the next two or three weeks,” Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn. Trump has previously suggested he may reappoint Fed Chair Janet Yellen to the post. Jerome Powell, one of the current governors on the Fed’s board, also met with Trump earlier this week about the Fed job, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.Reuters

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