NEWS   WEDNESDAY, APRIL  11, 2018   NEWS

Assad Invites Chemical Weapons Watchdog To Investigate Suspected Douma Attack
Syria says it has invited a mission from the international chemical weapons watchdog to investigate a suspected poison gas attack near Damascus. The country’s foreign ministry said it would help the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in a fact-finding mission into the alleged attack, which opposition activists say killed 40 people over the weekend. Google News
VOA VIEW: A complication that may be a little too late.

UFC's Paige VanZant Reveals She Was Gang Raped In High School
The 24-year-old told MMA Fighting she decided to "be very transparent" with her fans in order to help other victims of sexual assault and bullying. "It got to the point where it was like, you know, it’s time for me to share it," VanZant shared. "If I was gonna say anything and be open about it, the best way to do it is to write it down in a book and let people read it. So it doesn’t necessarily have to come out of my mouth, but people get to hear my story." Fox

Zuckerberg: 'Most Imprortant Thing' Is To Make Sure No Interference In Midterms
Cambridge Analytica is a political consulting firm that worked on then-candidate Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. The firm received a $15 million investment from Robert Mercer, a billionaire Republican donor, to influence voters, The New York Times reported. The firm allegedly used a personality quiz to gather data from users and their friends, including details they had not intended to share. They are also accused of using private information from at least 50 million Facebook users’ profiles to influence elections.  Fox
VOA VIEW: Zuckerberg did not look or sound honest at his hearing.

FBI Raid Targeted Records Of Payments To Porn Star & Playmate
The FBI raid on President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen sought information that included payments allegedly made to keep women silent about affairs with Trump more than a decade ago. A source familiar with the matter told CNN Tuesday that a focus of Monday's raid was to seek records on the deal set up between ex-Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal and a company that reportedly paid her amid the 2016 presidential campaign cycle to keep her account from publication. As CNN previously reported, the warrant also sought records regarding the deal with porn star Stormy Daniels, another woman who alleges an affair with Trump and was paid to keep her story quiet. CNN

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Haley Says Russia Chose 'Protecting A Monster' Over Syrian People
Russia vetoed a US draft resolution at the UN Security Council Tuesday that would have established an independent investigation into the suspected use of chemical weapons in Syria. The US draft condemned the suspected attack by the Assad regime in Douma, demanded immediate access for humanitarian workers to the region and called for an inquiry. "When the people of Douma, along with the rest of the international community, looked to this council to act, one country stood in the way. CNN

John Bolton Pushes Out Bossert As Homeland Security Adviser
White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert was pushed out of his position by the newly installed national security adviser John Bolton, two sources familiar with the matter told CNN on Tuesday. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed his departure in a statement, saying President Donald Trump "is grateful for Tom's commitment to the safety and security of our great country. "Tom led the White House's efforts to protect the homeland from terrorist threats, strengthen our cyber defenses, and respond to an unprecedented series of natural disasters," Sanders said. CNN

Trump Has Lost The Confidence Of Investors
President Donald Trump likes to equate the rally in stocks since the November 2016 elections with confidence in him and his policies. And yes, the S&P 500 Index has surged 22 percent since then -- but a deeper look at equities, bonds and the dollar reveals anything but trust in his stewardship. Here’s the executive summary: U.S. companies are valued less now than before Trump was elected, despite the run-up in stocks, big corporate tax cuts, reductions in regulations, and booming earnings. The cost to borrow for the U.S. has soared relative to other governments, a sign investors are worried about America’s creditworthiness. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: People count not liberal polls.

"Catch And Release" Explained: The Heart Of Trump's New Border Agenda
While the idea of “catch and release” has been part of the immigration debate on and off for more than a decade — and President Trump has used the phrase repeatedly in recent days — what it means hasn’t stayed consistent. This White House tends to use it as, well, a catchall term for any law or policy that prevents the federal government from keeping every single immigrant apprehended without papers at the US-Mexico border from being processed (and, they’d prefer, deported) as quickly as possible, and being kept in immigration detention in the meantime. Vox

Inside The West Wing With Trump Enraged
Sources close to the president say that a political dispute with special counsel Robert Mueller has turned visceral and personal after the feds' raid on the New York offices of Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer and fixer. What we're hearing: One of the sources said: "Mueller's investigation has been drip, drip. This was a giant leap forward ... a personal hit. ... They were moving in inches. Today, they moved a mile." Until now, when storms hit, Trump could turn to Hope Hicks to explain things to him, suggest wording, simmer him down. With her departure from the White House, we saw the president working out his fury in real time. Axios

Senators To Trump: What Ever Happened To Your Opioid Commission's Proposals?
Now, two Democratic senators are looking for answers. In an April 9 letter to Trump obtained exclusively by Vox, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) have asked the White House for an update on each of the commission’s recommendations — how far along they are, which ones the Trump administration believes will require congressional action, and who is overseeing the White House’s response to the opioid crisis. “We are concerned, however, by reports that in spite of the opioid epidemic’s devastating impact on American communities, your Administration has failed to act aggressively to combat it,” Warren and Murray wrote. Vox
VOA VIEW: Common left propaganda.

Having Kids Widens the Wage Gap. But These Women Are More Likely to Bounce Back
It’s a well-documented phenomenon that parenthood contributes to the wage gap. Studies have shown, for example, that working mothers make less than childless women — who already make less, on average, than their male coworkers. But a recent U.S. Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies working paper, which was published in November and used more than two decades of data from national earning surveys, suggests it’s not just whether or not you have children that influences your paycheck. When you have them matters, too. Fortune

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Xi's Vow To Cut Auto Tariffs Is Less Than Meets The Eye
Chinese President Xi Jinping's promise to reduce auto tariffs is not the win for President Donald Trump that it appears to be. While Trump praised Xi’s proposals on Twitter — “Very thankful for President Xi of China’s kind words on tariffs and automobile barriers,” he posted — analysts and business leaders shrugged off Xi’s promises to open markets as old pledges that have yet to be fulfilled. They also dismissed his vow to reduce auto tariffs as inconsequential without other, larger changes.  Politico
VOA VIEW: Xi says anything and does nothing.

Russian Spy: Yulia Skripal Discharged From Hospital
Yulia Skripal, the poisoned daughter of Russian ex-spy Sergei, has been discharged from hospital. The 33-year-old left Salisbury District Hospital on Monday and has been taken to a secure location. The hospital said: "This is not the end of her treatment but marks a significant milestone." Her 66-year-old father remains in hospital and is "recovering more slowly than Yulia". Doctors hope he will be discharged "in due course". BBC

Queen Jokes On TV: 'It Sounds Like President Trump'
Queen Elizabeth II normally leaves the jokes to her husband. Now in her 90s, Britain's monarch seems to be getting in on the act with a gag about Donald Trump and Barack Obama. While strolling through Buckingham Palace Garden with naturalist David Attenborough for a TV documentary, the tranquility is shattered by the sound of a helicopter flying above, giving the Queen an opportunity to show off her sense of humor. "Why do they always go round and round when you want to talk?" she asks. "It sounds like President Trump ... or President Obama." CNN
VOA VIEW: CNN liberal propaganda.

Vanuatu Denies It Will Host China Military Base
Vanuatu has denied holding talks with Beijing to establish a Chinese military base on its soil. Australia's Fairfax Media reported on Tuesday that China had approached Vanuatu to establish a permanent military presence in the South Pacific. The report said China had not made an official proposal, but its possibility had been discussed at "the highest levels" in the US and Australia. Vanuatu said it was not interested in hosting foreign military bases.  BBC

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White House: Mueller Is Overreaching And Trump Has The Power To Fire Him
President Trump believes Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller has gone too far in his probe of potential ties between Trump's campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Tuesday. Her statement to reporters did little to tamp down speculation that Trump may seek to fire Mueller — an authority that Sanders says Trump enjoys. Federal agents raided the office of Trump's longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, on Monday following a referral from Mueller. NPR

Syria 'Chemical Attack': Allies Agree Need For Response
The prime minister has agreed with her US and French counterparts that the international community must respond to an alleged chemical attack in Syria. In phone calls, Theresa May, Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron said those responsible should be "held to account". Mr Macron said any strikes would target Syrian government chemical facilities. But Russia, which provides military support to Syria, has said there is no evidence of a chemical attack. Medical sources say dozens of people were killed, including children, during the alleged toxic bombing of formerly rebel-held town of Douma, in the Eastern Ghouta region. BBC

Trump Orders Top To Bottom Review Of Welfare Programs
President Donald Trump has directed his agencies to raise the bar for recipients of food stamps, Medicaid, rent subsidies and other welfare programs, and find ways to put more of them back to work. In an executive order signed Tuesday afternoon, Trump directed the Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture and other agencies to make a top-to-bottom review of their safety-net programs, with the goal of finding ways to push more people into the workforce and off of welfare. Politico
VOA VIEW: Great!

Sarah Sanders Says She Doesn't Know Whether Michael Cohen Still Represents Trump
When pressed by reporters about the FBI raid of Michael Cohen's home, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeatedly referred reporters in Tuesday's White House press briefing to President Trump's comments on the matter from Monday. Sanders did not know whether Michael Cohen still represents the president, nor whether they'd spoken in the last 24 hours. CBS

McConnell Open To Votes To Slash Spending
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opened the door on Tuesday to votes on a bill cutting federal spending and a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget — efforts that face little prospect of passage but are aimed at mollifying fiscal conservatives outraged over rising deficits. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is working in tandem with the White House on a “recissions” package that would ax some of the spending from last month’s government funding bill. Politico

Trump Cancels South America Trip To Monitor Syria Response
President Donald Trump has scrapped a planned trip to South America, set to begin Friday, to remain in the United States and "oversee the American response to Syria and to monitor developments around the world," the White House said on Tuesday. Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, said Vice President Mike Pence would travel instead to the Summit of the Americas in the Peruvian capital of Lima.  CNN
VOA VIEW: America First.

Polls Show The GOP Is Now President Trump's Party
President Donald Trump has become more popular since the election. As I wrote last month, his net favorability rating has climbed by more than 8 percentage points since he before the 2016 election. A closer examination of his polling reveals why he's become more popular: It's almost all about the demise of the anti-Trump Republican. Before Trump won the 2016 election, we heard a lot about Republicans who didn't like him. CNN

Donald Trump's Strange Justice
How President Trump feels about due process appears to depend on whether he or his associates are the ones being investigated. Monday, after the news broke that federal investigators had raided the office, hotel room, and home of Trump's longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen, the president called it  “an attack on our country, in a true sense,” and “an attack on what we all stand for.” It was a curious reversal for a politician who, from the start of his campaign, has ridiculed due process protections as mere "political correctness," but one that has become so common over the first two years of his presidency that it now goes practically unremarked.  Atlantic

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Fox Offices In London Raided By European Commission Investigators
European Commission investigators raided Twenty-First Century Fox's London office on Tuesday, The Daily Telegraph reported. Sources at the location told the newspaper that authorities were trying to be discreet and had been told to keep details of their mission confidential. The Telegraph reported that investigators will be on site through Wednesday and maybe Thursday. Shares of Fox fell more than 1 percent in extended trading. CNBC

Alan Dershowitz: Justice Department Violate Michael Cohen's Constitutional Rights'
A famed Harvard legal scholar is raising concerns about the Justice Department's ability to responsibly handle some documents seized Monday from Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's offices. Among the scooped-up papers, and lurking on phones and hard drives, is likely to be a cache of material that's covered by attorney-client privilege. Prosecutors are not permitted access to those files, and the DOJ's standard practice is to set up a 'taint team' – a group of agents and lawyers not connected to the Cohen case or the special counsel probe into all things Russia – to decide what they can see. Daily Mail UK
VOA VIEW: Cohen was illegally attacked.

Stormy D. Cooperating With Feds
Adult film actress Stormy Daniels is cooperating with federal investigators looking into a $130,000 payment she received from President Donald Trump's personal attorney, multiple sources familiar with the proceedings told NBC News. The cooperation is in connection with a broader federal probe of the attorney, Michael Cohen, which triggered a raid on his office and hotel room on Monday. Sources told NBC News that the search warrants were executed by the FBI and federal prosecutors in New York in coordination with special counsel Robert Mueller's team. NBC

Marital Bliss: Trump, Obama And Other Politicians Not Invited To UK's Royal Wedding
The wedding of England's Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle is set to be the society event of the year — but it won't feature President Donald Trump, former President Barack Obama or British Prime Minister Theresa May, according to a Kensington Palace source. The wedding of England's Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle is set to be the society event of the year — but it won't feature President Donald Trump, former President Barack Obama or British Prime Minister Theresa May, according to a Kensington Palace source. NBC
VOA VIEW: The marriage will not last.

Judge Finalizes $25M Settlement for 'Victims Of Donald Trump's Fraudulent University'
Trump University attendees are getting paid back. A federal judge in the Southern District of California on Monday finalized a $25 million settlement to be paid to attendees of the now-defunct real estate seminar called Trump University. Judge Gonzalo Curiel's decision came after an appeals court rejected arguments from a Florida woman who attended Trump University and said she wanted to pursue a separate lawsuit. New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman called the settlement a victory for Trump U. "victims." ABC

How John Kelly’s Boston Neighborhood Led Him To Trump’s Side
On the morning of October 20, a Facebook Group called “Originally from Oak Square Brighton” was in an uproar. Typically, the several hundred members share childhood memories from their Boston neighborhood or news that an old friend has passed away. But on this night, they were grappling with a segment that had aired the night before on Lawrence O’Donnell’s MSNBC show. O’Donnell had dedicated his opening monologue to a takedown of John Kelly, President Donald Trump’s chief of staff. Kelly had spoken in the White House briefing room about losing his son Robert to a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, as part of an effort to calm a dustup over a condolence call between his boss and the mother of a soldier killed in Niger. Politico

Rod Rosenstein Personally Signed Off On The Raid Of Trump’s Attorney
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein personally gave the green light for the FBI to raid the hotel room and office of President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen on Monday, The New York Times first reported. Rosenstein oversees special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election. The Cohen raid came, in part, from a referral from Mueller’s team. The raid was executed by the office of the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Huffington Post
VOA VIEW: Rosenstein is anti Trump.

Former Top US Intelligence Officials Back Trump's CIA Pick
U.S. President Donald Trump’s nominee for CIA director, Gina Haspel, has received the strong, cross-partisan backing of dozens of former top intelligence officials, according to a letter sent to the Senate Intelligence Committee. “Ms Haspel’s qualifications to be CIA Director match or exceed those of most candidates put forward in the Agency’s 70-year history,” they said in the letter to the committee’s leaders that was released on Monday.  Reuters

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Trump: 'Attorney Client Privilege Is Dead'
Donald Trump lashed out at hs own Justice Department on Tuesday morning, following FBI raids on his longtime personal lawyer's offices, home and hotel. 'Attorney–client privilege is dead!' Trump tweeted. 'A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!' The White House has yet to formulate a strategy for dealing with the fallout of an apparent criminal investigation of Michael Cohen by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.  Daily Mail UK
VOA VIEW: A very good point.

President 'Less Inclined' To Sit Down With Special Counsel After Raid
For the last several months, the Trump legal team has been having active negotiations with the Mueller team working toward a potential interview which would have included either a face to face interview with parameters, a written questionnaire or some mix of both, sources have told ABC News. Yet in the wake of Monday’s FBI raid on the home and office of Michael Cohen, the president’s longtime personal counsel, multiple sources tell ABC News things might be changing and that the president per one source is “understandably less trusting” of Mueller and his team. ABC

Mueller Investigating Ukrainian Tycoon's $150,000 Donation To Trump Foundation
There’s another twist in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The New York Times’s Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman report that Mueller is looking into a $150,000 payment from a Ukrainian business to Donald Trump’s charitable foundation in 2015 in exchange for a video appearance by then-candidate Trump. The existence of the payment to the Trump Foundation was reported shortly after the 2016 election; what’s new is that Mueller has reportedly taken an interest in it. Vox

China Talks Stalled Over Trump’s Demands On High-Tech Industries
Trade talks between the world’s biggest economies broke down last week after the Trump administration demanded that China curtail support for high-technology industries, a person familiar with the situation said, signaling that a resolution may be some ways off. Liu He, a vice premier overseeing economics and finance, told a group of officials Thursday that Beijing had rejected a U.S. request to stop subsidizing industries related to its “Made in China 2025” initiative, the person said.  Bloomberg

Trump Company Warned Panama President Of ‘Repercussions’ In Hotel Row
Lawyers for President Donald Trump’s private company warned Panama’s president last month of “repercussions” if he failed to intervene in a legal dispute involving a Trump hotel in Panama City, The Associated Press and The Washington Post reported Tuesday. The letter from Trump Organization lawyers is believed to be the first time since Trump’s election that his company directly pressured a head of state to help the president’s business. Huffington Post
VOA VIEW: To the victor belongs the spoils.

Mueller Investigating Ukrainian Tycoon's $150,000 Donation To Trump Foundation
There’s another twist in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The New York Times’s Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman report that Mueller is looking into a $150,000 payment from a Ukrainian business to Donald Trump’s charitable foundation in 2015 in exchange for a video appearance by then-candidate Trump. The existence of the payment to the Trump Foundation was reported shortly after the 2016 election; what’s new is that Mueller has reportedly taken an interest in it. Vox

China Talks Stalled Over Trump’s Demands On High-Tech Industries
Trade talks between the world’s biggest economies broke down last week after the Trump administration demanded that China curtail support for high-technology industries, a person familiar with the situation said, signaling that a resolution may be some ways off. Liu He, a vice premier overseeing economics and finance, told a group of officials Thursday that Beijing had rejected a U.S. request to stop subsidizing industries related to its “Made in China 2025” initiative, the person said.  Bloomberg

Trump Company Warned Panama President Of ‘Repercussions’ In Hotel Row
Lawyers for President Donald Trump’s private company warned Panama’s president last month of “repercussions” if he failed to intervene in a legal dispute involving a Trump hotel in Panama City, The Associated Press and The Washington Post reported Tuesday. The letter from Trump Organization lawyers is believed to be the first time since Trump’s election that his company directly pressured a head of state to help the president’s business. Huffington Post
VOA VIEW: To the victor belongs the spoils.

Kellyanne Conway’s Husband Retweets Post Comparing Trump To Nixon
As Kellyanne Conway is reportedly being considered for communications director, her husband is back at it with the rogue tweeting. George Conway noticed President Donald Trump‘s fury on Tuesday morning after the president declared that “attorney-client privilege is dead” in light of the FBI’s raid on Michael Cohen. How did Conway respond? Well the conservative lawyer shared a section of the Department of Justice’s manual for obtaining search warrants on an attorney. The legal segment Conway highlighted states that law enforcement can obtain search warrants to investigate an attorney who is “a subject of an investigation, and who also is or may be engaged in the practice of law on behalf of clients.” The manual says these warrants would not necessarily violate attorney-client privilege, though there are various guidelines for how the warrants have to be obtained. Mediaite

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Sinclair TV Host's Show Canceled For Tweeting Sexual Threat At David Hogg
A conservative commentator who sent a violent and vulgar tweet saying he would use "a hot poker" to sexually assault a 17-year-old survivor of a Florida high school shooting has resigned from a St. Louis TV station after several advertisers withdrew from his show. KDNL-TV has canceled "The Allman Report" and accepted Jamie Allman's resignation, according to a brief statement from Ronn Torossian, a spokesman for the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which operates the TV station. CBS
VOA VIEW: It was dumb for Allman to say what he said, though Hogg is a publicity seeking idiot.

BofA Will Stop Lending To Makers Of Assault-Style Guns
Bank of America Corp. plans to stop lending to companies that make assault-style guns used for non-military purposes. “It’s our intention not to finance these military-style firearms for civilian use,” Anne Finucane, a vice chairman at Bank of America, said Tuesday in a Bloomberg Television interview. The firm has had “intense conversations over the last few months” with those kinds of gun manufacturers to tell them it won’t finance their operations in the future, she said. It’s the first time an executive at the nation’s second-largest bank has publicly laid out how it will deal with gun-industry clients following Feb. 14 shootings at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead.  Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: It is time to consider stop doing business with BofA.

Testimony Halted As Defense Slips Up At Cosby Trial
Testimony in Bill Cosby‘s sex assault retrial came to a jarring halt Tuesday afternoon, when a defense attorney let slip that jurors in the comedian’s first trial had been unable to reach a verdict. The utterance — mistaken or otherwise — came during a heated cross examination of prosecution witness Dr. Barbara Ziv, a forensic psychiatrist, by defense lawyer Kathleen Bliss. Bliss, trying to get Ziv to admit she’d closely followed the case, referred to an undated article in Sky News about sex crimes in which Ziv had been quoted. Page Six

Syria Missile Strike 'Within Hours': Eastern Mediterranean On Alert For 'Possible Strike'
A coalition force could fire “air-to-ground or cruise missiles” in the wake of a horrifying chemical attack on innocent civilians in Syria last week. Aviation experts AirLive have reported this evening a “rapid alert notification” warning aircraft in the eastern Mediterranean to be wary of a sudden missile strike. AirLive said the alert was issued by Eurocontrol this evening for a “possible launch … within the next 72 hours”. AirLive said: “According to reports, British forces are mobilising at their bases in Cyprus and Rafale fighter jets could takeoff from St Dizier airbase in France for possible strikes against Syria.” Express UK

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