NEWS   WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER  4, 2017   NEWS

Police Took 72 Minutes To Reach Las Vegas Shooter
The Las Vegas gunman’s exact location took police 72 minutes to reach after the first 911 call. Police received the first 911 call regarding Sunday’s shooting at the country music concert at 10:08 p.m. local time, NBC News reported. By the time, Stephen Paddock was done shooting, at least 59 people were dead and 515 injured. Officers began their search for the gunman following the call and responders discovered the gunfire was coming from a window of the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino after seeing muzzle flashes, dispatch tape showed, The Mercury News reported. Police began searching the hotel’s 29th floor before determining the gunman was on the 32nd floor, NBC News reported. Fox
VOA VIEW: There are a lot of questions that will be asked.

Trump Seeking To Avoid Gun Debate During Vegas Trip
The White House is seeking to delay any discussion of gun policy as it plans President Donald Trump’s trip to Las Vegas on Wednesday, following the mass shooting at an outdoor concert there earlier this week. Trump is expected to meet with victims of the Las Vegas shooting and visit an area hospital, according to a White House official. He is not expected to weigh in on any policy solutions during the trip.  POLITICO
VOA VIEW: Smart decision.

Trump, In Puerto Rico, Compares Death Toll With ‘Real Catastrophe,’ Katrina’s
President Trump told officials in Puerto Rico on Tuesday that they should be proud that only 16 people died in Hurricane Maria, compared with the thousands killed “in a real catastrophe” like Hurricane Katrina. “Sixteen versus in the thousands,” Mr. Trump said during his first visit to the island, after asking one of the officials what the death count was. “You can be very proud of all your people, all of our people working together. Sixteen versus literally thousands of people. You can be very proud.” The government’s relief efforts in Texas and Florida compare favorably to the bungled response to Katrina in 2005, which killed 1,833 people. But the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, complained that the response in Puerto Rico had fallen short of those in Texas and Florida, which prompted Mr. Trump to lash out at her over the weekend. NY Times
VOA VIEW: The situation in PR was completely adverse than any complaint made by the liberal left.

Kennedy’s Vote Is In Play On Voting Maps Warped By Politics
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy has long been troubled by extreme partisan gerrymandering, where the party in power draws voting districts to give itself a lopsided advantage in elections. But he has never found a satisfactory way to determine when voting maps are so warped by politics that they cross a constitutional line. After spirited Supreme Court arguments on Tuesday, there was reason to think Justice Kennedy may be ready to join the court’s more liberal members in a groundbreaking decision that could reshape American democracy by letting courts determine when lawmakers have gone too far. NY Times
VOA VIEW: NYT liberal media.

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Las Vegas Shooter Sent Tens Of Thousands Of Dollars 'Overseas'
The Las Vegas shooter sent tens of thousands of dollars “overseas,” federal law enforcement officials told Fox News Tuesday. The revelation comes amid questions about the whereabouts of Stephen Paddock's girlfriend, Marilou Danley, who left the U.S. before Paddock committed the horrific attack that killed 59 and injured at least 515 others. Investigators are looking into whether Paddock sent the cash to Danley amid conflicting reports she's in either the Philippines or Japan, the officials said. Fox

Cardin Requests Details On Kushner's Use Of Personal Email Account
The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday requested more information about White House senior adviser Jared Kushner’s use of a personal email account to conduct government business, sending letters to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and White House counsel Don McGahn. POLITICO reported late Monday that White House officials have begun examining emails associated with a previously unreported email account on a private domain established by Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump. Since January, hundreds of emails have been sent to the family domain from White House addresses. Most went to an account that Kushner and Trump both had access to and shared with their household staff for family scheduling. POLITICO
VOA VIEW: An attempt to  find any fault in Trump or his people.

Father Saved Others From Gunfire In Las Vegas Before Being Shot In Neck
A 30-year-old man is being credited with saving the lives of multiple people amid a barrage of gunfire in Las Vegas before he was shot in the neck and wounded, reports the Washington Post. Jonathan Smith, a copy machine repairman from Buena Park, Calif., was reportedly in Las Vegas at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival to celebrate his brother's 43rd birthday when the shots rang out Sunday. Police have identified the gunman as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, who they say brought multiple firearms to a suite on the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel, smashed two windows and opened fire, killing 59 and wounding more than 500.. CBS News

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U.S. Expels 15 Cuban Diplomats From Embassy In Washington
The Trump administration expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from the embassy in Washington in an escalating response to mysterious illnesses afflicting American embassy personnel in Havana. The expulsions were intended to force the Cubans to operate their embassy in Washington under the same emergency conditions that the United States is now operating under in Havana. The Trump administration decided last week to pare its staff in Havana down to a skeletal group of just 27 people who can carry out emergency services. NY Times

Partisan Gerrymandering: How Much Is Too Much?
Chief Justice John Roberts warned Tuesday that the Supreme Court's "status and integrity" could be jeopardized if a majority of the justices declare that there is a constitutional limit to partisan gerrymandering. At the same time, the court's four liberal justices warned that failing to act poses a threat to democracy. With the court apparently split 4-4 along liberal-conservative lines, the man in the middle is Justice Anthony Kennedy, who in a 2004 court opinion left the door open to declaring extreme partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional if "manageable standards" could be developed for identifying which ones are extreme. NPR

ISIS Release New Video, Bragging That Las Vegas Shooting Is Revenge
Islamic State has released a new video bragging that the Las Vegas massacre was revenge for US attacks against their caliphate. In what appears to be a desperate publicity stunt, the terror group claimed the horrific acts of Stephen Paddock, 64, were down to them, saying they radicalised him months before he shot 58 people dead and injured 527 more on Sunday night. He then committed suicide. FBI officials rubbished the claims, saying he had no affiliation to any terrorist organisations, but the Islamic extremists took to their propaganda news agencies to spread the word. Daily Mail UK
VOA VIEW: Giving ISIS publicity is what they want.

Catalan Referendum: Region's Independence 'In Matter Of Days'
Catalonia will declare independence from Spain in a matter of days, the leader of the autonomous region has told the BBC. In his first interview since a disputed vote on Sunday, Carles Puigdemont said his government would "act at the end of this week or the beginning of next". Meanwhile, Spain's King Felipe VI said the vote's organisers had put themselves "outside the law". He said the situation in Spain was "extremely serious", calling for unity. Tensions between Spain and the north-eastern Catalonia region continue to mount. BBC

8 Surgeries To Look Like Melania Trump
She’s had a tummy tuck, liposuction, a Brazilian butt lift and a nose job revision in order to look like her idol, First Lady Melania Trump. Texas mom Claudia Sierra actually underwent eight total procedures in recent months to perfect the Melania look, including a breast implant reconstruction, after previously having a partial mastectomy as part of treatment for breast cancer. It’s all to emulate the First Lady, whom Sierra, 42, calls “the perfect woman” in a clip teasing her “Inside Edition” appearance that will document her transformation. Star-Telegram

GOP Congressman Repeatedly Promoted Antiabortion Stance A Week After Reportedly Telling Mistress To Get Abortion
Hypocrisy, thy name is Rep. Tim Murphy. We already knew that the Pennsylvania Republican had engaged in an extramarital affair, after it came out in his mistress's divorce records. But things got much worse for Murphy on Tuesday: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that text messages indicate he told his mistress to get an abortion when they had a pregnancy scare. That's especially problematic because Murphy is supposed to be an antiabortion congressman. He's got nearly a flawless voting record, as far as groups like the Family Research Council are concerned.  Washington Post

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Yahoo Triples Estimate Of Breached Accounts To 3 Billion
Yahoo said Tuesday that the number of people impacted by a massive security breach in 2013 was three times larger than it had originally announced — and all accounts were affected. Roughly 3 billion accounts were affected in 2013, up from the company’s earlier estimate of more than 1 billion. The company has yet to disclose the cause of the breach. The new information emerged after Verizon Communications Inc., which purchased Yahoo for $4.48 billion in June, received more intelligence about the breach with the help of outside forensic experts. SF Gate

President Trump's Puerto Rico Visit
President Trump on Tuesday made his first venture to Puerto Rico to survey the wrath of Hurricane Maria, after touting his administration's efforts there and criticizing local officials for being unprepared for the storm's ramifications. The most memorable points of his trip came -- as the posts below note - when the president joked Puerto Rico was burdening the federal budget, said officials should be "proud" Puerto Rico didn't end in as many lives lost as other storms like Hurricane Katrina, and threw paper towels to storm victims at a church. The president departed Puerto Rico about an hour ahead of time, spending just a few hours on the ground. While there, Mr. Trump praised the federal response to the storm throughout, even as more than 90 percent of the island is without power and as many have no drinking water. CBS
VOA VIEW: It shows that the disaster could not be calculated or prepared for.

Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner Had Third Email Account
First daughter and assistant to the president Ivanka Trump and her husband, senior adviser to the president Jared Kushner, reportedly received hundreds of White House emails to a third private email account while serving in the Trump administration. Trump and Kushner used the account in addition to their two respective personal email addresses while serving in official White House roles, Politico reported Monday. US News & World Report

Mattis Pressed To Defend Trump's Rejection Of US-North Korea Talks
James Mattis pressed to explain Trump's approach to North Korea. Defense Secretary James Mattis was pressed Tuesday to explain President Donald Trump's recent spate of tweets that appeared to reject a diplomatic solution on North Korea. It followed the Defense secretary's opening remarks to a Senate panel that the Pentagon "supports fully" Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's ongoing "efforts to find a diplomatic solution [to the North Korean threat] but remains focused on defense of the United States and our allies." CNBC

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Mattis: US Will Try To Work With Pakistan On Terrorism 'One More Time'
The United States will try to work with Pakistan on terrorism “one more time” before taking punitive action to pressure them to do more, Defense Secretary James Mattis said Tuesday. “We need to try one more time to make this strategy work with them, by, with and through the Pakistanis, and if our best efforts fail, President Trump is prepared to take whatever steps are necessary," Mattis said at a House Armed Services Committee hearing. Mattis was testifying at the House Armed Services Committee alongside Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, the pair’s second hearing of the day on the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. The Hill

First Rifts Emerge In Palestinian Reconciliation Talks
A new round of Palestinian reconciliation talks experienced its first sign of trouble on Tuesday as the Hamas militant group said it would not give up its vast weapons arsenal, putting it at odds with both the rival Fatah movement and Israel. The tough comments by Hamas’ supreme leader, Ismail Haniyeh, provided a reminder of the long road that lies ahead after this week’s launch of talks with President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement. Abbas’ prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, is in Gaza, where he has received a warm welcome in what is by far the most ambitious attempt by the Palestinian rivals to end a 10-year rift.  Washington Post

House Tax Plan 'Highly Likely' To Include Fourth Rate On Wealthy, Likely Not Higher Than 39.6%
House Republicans are leaning toward setting a higher tax rate for wealthy Americans than the one outlined in the framework unveiled by the White House and GOP leadership last week. That plan called for consolidating the current seven tax rates into just three — 12, 25 and 35 percent. However, it gave lawmakers the option of adding a fourth rate to ensure that high-income households do not receive the biggest benefits—and a senior Republican said they are "highly likely" to take it. The Republican, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal negotiations, said the precise rate has not been determined. But, the person said, it will not be higher than the current top rate of 39.6 percent. CNBC
VOA VIEW: Why!

GOP Establishment Doubts Bannon’s Primary Powers
Establishment Republicans are skeptical that former judge Roy Moore’s victory in last week’s Alabama GOP primary runoff means that an alliance of insurgent conservative groups, led by former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, is about to knock off more Republican incumbents. Bannon and his allies have used Moore’s Tuesday night victory over the establishment-backed Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) as a springboard to float challenges against a fleet of Republican incumbents. Bannon and his allies see the wind at their backs after a unified and high-profile push, arguing that the win means that no incumbent is safe. The Hill

New Details Emerge About Las Vegas Shooter Stephen Paddock And Girlfriend Marilou Danley
As investigators continue to search for a motive for Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock’s rampage, new details have emerged about his life and his relationship to his longtime girlfriend Marilou Danley. Authorities are waiting to interview Danley once she returns from Asia, hoping she can shed light on what might have driven Paddock to open fire from his casino hotel room Sunday night, killing at least 59 people and injuring more than 500 on the Las Vegas Strip. Washington Post

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Pence’s Chief Of Staff Floats ‘Purge’ Of Anti-Trump Republicans To Wealthy Donors
Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff railed against congressional leaders in closed-door remarks to wealthy donors and called for a “purge” if GOP lawmakers don’t quickly rally behind President Donald Trump’s agenda. In remarks at a Republican National Committee event at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington on Tuesday morning, Nick Ayers also warned that Republicans are “on track to get shellacked” in next year’s midterm elections if GOP lawmakers don’t pass Trump’s legislative priorities. POLITICO

Biden To Alabama: No More Extremist Senators
Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) on Tuesday made his pitch to Alabama voters to support Democratic Senate nominee Doug Jones, telling the campaign rally’s crowd that it doesn’t need "another extremist” serving in the upper chamber. “We don’t need another extremist up in the United States Senate,” Biden said, referring to former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who last week won the Republican primary runoff. The Hill

DOJ Releases Slew Of Memos Lobbying Against Presidential Appointments For Family
The Justice Department has released a trove of decades-old internal legal memos concluding the President should be legally barred from appointing a relative to a position in the White House, shedding new light on just how sharp a departure the department's more recent interpretation of federal law under the Trump administration compares to past practice. When the Justice Department concluded on Inauguration Day 2017 Jared Kushner could serve in his father-in-law's administration without violating anti-nepotism laws, legal experts scratched their heads at the ruling. CNN
VOA VIEW: It is clear that Trump was treated with bias.

Uber Strips Power From Ousted CEO Travis Kalanick
Uber has stripped power from its founder and former CEO, Travis Kalanick, part of an ongoing struggle to move past a scandal-plagued mess at the company. The ride-hailing behemoth's directors on Tuesday unanimously approved a host of changes to the way Uber will be run. Among them, the already massive board of 11 will increase by six members, according to a person familiar with the board's decision. Also, board members will all vote on an equal scale. CNN

Wells Fargo CEO Sloan Should Be Fired, Senator Warren Says
Senator Elizabeth Warren, a frequent foil of the biggest U.S. banks, said it’s time for another Wells Fargo & Co. chief executive to go. CEO Timothy Sloan -- continuing the bank’s extended mea culpa tour -- told lawmakers during a Senate Banking Committee hearing Tuesday that the buck stops with him on the lender’s recovery from recent scandals that potentially wronged millions of customers. Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, accused the longtime senior executive of either being incompetent or complicit. “Either way, you should be fired,” Warren told him. Bloomberg

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IRS Awards Equifax $7.25 Million No-Bid Contract To Help 'Verify Taxpayer Identities'
EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow once said that asking the government to protect your privacy is like asking a peeping tom to install your window blinds. The Internal Revenue Service, it seems, has taken this warning as a recommendation. With no apparent sense of irony, the nation’s tax collectors have awarded embattled credit-reporting agency Equifax a contract to assist the IRS in verifying “taxpayer identities” as well as assist in “ongoing identity verification and validations,” according to contract award posted to the Federal Business Opportunities database. Gizmodo

N.J. Mega Car Dealer Pulls TV Ads Over NFL Protests
In response to the ongoing controversy surrounding NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, the owner of Flemington Car and Truck Country has pulled the dealership's ads from broadcasts of games for the remainder of the 2017 season. "The National Football League and its owners have shown their fans and marketing partners that they do not have a comprehensive policy to ensure that players stand and show respect for America and our flag during the playing of the national anthem," Steve Kalafer said in a statement. New Jersey Times
VOA VIEW: Good!

Girlfriend Of Las Vegas Gunman Arrives In US
Federal authorities met the Las Vegas killer’s girlfriend at Los Angeles International Airport late Tuesday and said they will take a harder look at what she might have known leading up to the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Marilou Danley, 62, was staying in the Philippines on Sunday when her boyfriend, Stephen Paddock, opened fire from his hotel room and killed 59 people at a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. Days before the shooting, Paddock transferred $100,000 to the Philippines, a U.S. official told the Associated Press. That official was briefed by law enforcement but not authorized to speak publicly because of the continuing investigation. Investigators were still trying to trace the money and also looking into a least a dozen financial reports over the past several weeks that said Paddock gambled more than $10,000 per day, the official said. Fox

Democratic Reps Boycott Moment Of Silence For Las Vegas Victims
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) refused to take part in a moment of silence for the victims of the largest mass shooting in U.S. history that occurred in Las Vegas Sunday night. “Now is not a moment for silence; it's a time for action," the congressman tweeted. Moulton was joined by Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), who also boycotted. Moulton took a shot at House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday, telling him to "do your job" and vote on gun legislation, and that he is "letting America down." He and several Democrats also refused to stand for a moment of silence for the victims of the June, 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. The Democrat is an outspoken gun control advocate, and has pressed Republicans to take up gun control legislation. Fox
VOA VIEW: Moulton and others like him will be gone in 2018.

Trump Aides Deliver Shortlist Of Fed Candidates
President Donald Trump’s advisers have given him a final list of people they’re recommending as candidates to lead the Federal Reserve and have ended the search, according to seven people familiar with the matter. Two of the people said Fed Chair Janet Yellen remains under consideration -- even though few, if any, of Trump’s inner circle are advocating for her re-appointment. Trump could bring in a wild-card candidate, but several of the people said that’s unlikely. Bloomberg

Trump Suggests Puerto Rico’s Debt May Need To Be ‘Wiped Out’
President Donald Trump suggested that the government debt accumulated by bankrupt Puerto Rico would need to be wiped clean to help the island recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: A mistake.

Trump’s Generals Thwart Him On The Iran Deal
It's no secret that President Trump is desperate to withdraw the United States from the Iran deal. Trump blatantly resents the agreement, the crowning foreign policy achievement of the Obama administration, and lambastes it whenever he can. That included his speech last month at the U.N. General Assembly, during which he called the deal “an embarrassment” and hinted to reporters that he was ready to scrap it. Now the White House faces its latest deadline — Oct. 15 — to certify to Congress that Iran is in compliance with the terms of the deal. Trump has grudgingly given that approval two times this year, but has loudly signaled that he won't keep doing so. The Washington Post

Michelle Obama: Young People Feel What's Happening Now 'Not What They Were Taught'
Former first lady Michelle Obama said Tuesday that many young people only know life under her husband's presidency and may consider "what's happening now as intrinsically not what they were taught." "Many of the young people today, they only know Barack Obama as their president and what that standard felt like and what kind of messages were being talked about," she said at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women, according to CNN. "They grew up only under hope and possibility and options and opportunity and creating more space," she continued. The Hill
VOA VIEW: Obama was a loser.

North Korea Tension Sidelines South's Unification Ministry
Every day, South Korea's Unification Ministry sends officials to the border village of Panmunjom to call North Korea at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. For more than 18 months, the North hasn't picked up. As North Korea steps up its nuclear weapons tests and threats, the Unification Ministry, dedicated to improving relations with the North and eventual peaceful reunification, faces an almost existential crisis. Not long ago the ministry was one of Seoul's most powerful departments. It had central roles in engineering two historic summits between the leaders of the two Koreas and launching joint economic projects in the 2000s. ABC News

State Department Defends US Vote Against Death Penalty Ban At The UN
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's team on Tuesday defended the decision to vote against a United Nations resolution calling for the "abolition of the death penalty," and said the language was an overly broad measure that is at odds with U.S. practice. "The United States clearly has the death penalty, both at the state and the federal level; that is why we voted against this," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters. The broad resolution criticized the use of the death penalty in several cases, including its use to punish homosexual behavior. Nauert made it clear that the U.S. also opposes the death penalty in these cases, but said it had to oppose the measure in its entirety at the U.N.  Washington Examiner

Exclusive: Jared Kushner's Personal Email Re-Routed To Trump Organization Computers Amid Public Scrutiny
President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump re-routed their personal email accounts to computers run by the Trump Organization as public scrutiny intensified over their use of private emails to conduct White House business, internet registration records show. The move, made just days after Kushner’s use of a personal email account first became public, came shortly after special counsel Robert Mueller asked the White House to turn over records related to his investigation of Russia's interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with Trump associates. USA Today

Vice President Mike Pence Pushes GOP Tax Reform Plan During Phoenix Visit
Vice President Mike Pence visited Phoenix on Tuesday where he met with Gov. Doug Ducey and Arizona business leaders to discuss Republican efforts to pass tax reform. He was scheduled to attend a political fundraiser at an undisclosed location Tuesday night. After landing at Sky Harbor International Airport at about 2:30 p.m., Pence’s first stop was Ajo Al’s restaurant in north-central Phoenix. There, he and Ducey pitched Republicans' tax proposal to a pre-selected group of small-business owners and supporters. AZ Central

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