NEWS   THURSDAY, APRIL  12, 2018   NEWS

Paul Ryan Won't Run For Re-Election
One of Washington’s best-wired Republicans said: “This is a Titanic, tectonic shift. … This is going to make every Republican donor believe the House can’t be held.” The announcement will help Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in his fundraising because “the Senate becomes the last bastion," the Republican said. Axios
VOA VIEW: Liberal wishful thinking.

Syria Braces For Possible US Attack, Calls It 'Reckless'
Activists reported that government forces vacated strategic potential targets, including air bases around the country in apparent preparation for incoming strikes. The Foreign Ministry in Damascus denounced President Donald Trump's threat to attack the country as "reckless" and a danger to international peace and security. ABC
VOA VIEW: Syria needs a major lesson.

Bashar Assad And Family Have Not Left Syria-Source
The Washington Examiner reported, citing Pentagon sources, that there were several possible plans for a military response to the attack in Syria. One option includes a strike similar to last year's, when the United States launched 59 cruise missiles on a Syrian Air Force airfield in Homs, the report said. Sputnik News

Zuckerberg Won't Give A Straight Answer On Data Downloads
What does Facebook  know about you? Clearly a whole lot more than it’s comfortable letting on. Today, during testimony in front of the House Energy & Commerce committee, CEO Mark Zuckerberg  was pressed by congressman Jerry McNerney on whether Facebook lets users download all their information — and he ended up appearing to contract its own cookies policy, which — if you go and actually read it — states pretty clearly that Facebook harvests users’ browsing data. Tech Crunch
VOA VIEW: Facebook is guilty and must be regulated and split as soon as possible.

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GOP Congressman's Insane Tirade
This strange — but insane — tale begins with Erick Erickson wandering the aisles of a Safeway supermarket. He’s accompanied by a Republican congressman who regularly appears on Fox News to defend President Donald Trump. “If we’re going to lose because of him, we might as well impeach the motherfucker,” the unnamed congressman told Erickson. Mediaite

All The Ways Russia Enables Assad
In a puzzling statement last December, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that 48,000 Russian military men had gained experience in Syria, without elaborating on what kind of experience. Russian mercenaries are also active in the country—as evidenced by the dozens who were killed in February by the U.S. military. The Kremlin denies any direct connections to the mercenaries. Atlantic

Defending Assad, Russia Cries 'Fake News'
The group of Syrian first responders, which was recently celebrated in a documentary and has provided reliable accounts of such attacks in the past, is in Russia’s view actually working “hand in glove with the terrorists” and “other pseudo-humanitarian organizations headquartered in the U.K. and the U.S.” The Kremlin characterized the White Helmets’ report, which it cosigned with an organization that provides medical services to Syrians, as an effort to prevent the Syrian army from “liberating” Douma and justify military intervention by foreign powers. Atlantic

A Syria Decision Hadn't Been Made When Trump Tweeted Missiles 'Will Be Coming'
President Donald Trump's morning declaration that "nice and new and 'smart'" missiles would soon be fired toward Syria caught most of his aides off guard and came before an agreement had been reached between key US allies, multiple American and Western officials said on Wednesday. That Trump would surprise staffers and allies with a morning tweet is not new; he ularly regsets his own tone for the day on Twitter based on cable television and his own mood. . CNN
VOA VIEW: Liberal CNN propaganda.

A Woman Has Accused The Governor Of Missouri Of Violent, Nonconsensual Sex
A woman alleges Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens forced her into a nonconsensual sexual encounter on his basement floor as she wept uncontrollably with her hands bound and eyes blindfolded, according to a graphic report released Wednesday by the state House investigative committee. The Republican governor was arrested in February and charged with taking nude photographs of the woman without her consent during an extramarital affair in 2015. Since then, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House has concluded that the testimony of the woman — Greitens' former hairstylist who has not been officially identified — is credible. Buzz Feed

Saudis Shoot Down Missiles, Drones As Mideast Tensions Flare
Saudi Arabia said it intercepted a ballistic missile over Riyadh and shot down two drones in another part of the country on Wednesday, in the latest attacks by pro-Iranian Yemeni rebels showing improved military capabilities more than three years into the conflict. Loud blasts were heard in the night sky above Riyadh on Wednesday. Two other missiles were intercepted over the southern areas of Jazan and Najran, authorities said. Bloomberg

NRA, In New Document, Acknowledges More Than 20 Russian-Linked Contributors
About $525 of that figure was from "two individuals who made contributions to the NRA." Wyden has been querying the NRA about its Russia connections following press reports that suggest the FBI is investigating whether Russians might have tried to use the NRA or other political organizations as part of their attack on the 2016 election. NPR

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Reddit Just Shut Down Nearly 1,000 Russian Troll Accounts
Reddit, which calls itself “the front page of the internet,” allows users to post links and commentary in forums with anonymous accounts. Users can “upvote” one another’s posts, and the more upvotes a post gets, the more widely it’s seen by other users. Seventy-one of the IRA-linked accounts that Reddit has shuttered have more than 1,000 upvotes. Russian influence on Reddit appears to come mainly in the form of content these troll accounts posted to the site, rather than paid advertising like they used on other sites such as Facebook. Vox

Russia to Trump: ‘We Don’t Do Twitter Diplomacy’
“We support serious approaches. We continue to believe that it is important not to take steps that could harm an already fragile situation.” In a separate response to Trump’s tweet, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Facebook that Trump’s so-called “smart” missiles should be aimed at terrorists, “not the legitimate government that has been fighting international terrorism for several years on its territory.” NY Mag
VOA VIEW: Russia can whine and make threats - Syria will get bombed.

The West Must Not Just Abandon The Balkans To Russia's Embrace
To the west, Miloševi? – who died in 2006 while on trial for crimes against humanity at The Hague – was a war criminal; to many Serbs he was not only that but also the man who oversaw a collapse in living standards, the isolation of Serbia and the loss of swaths of territory that had once been majority Serb. Honouring the man appears to make little sense. Guardian

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Syria Strike Target Identified: Air Force Compound Under Iranian Control
On February 10, after an Iranian drone was downed inside Israeli territory, the Israeli air force bombed the drone’s command post, located at T4. According to foreign media reports, that strike also killed some Iranians, though that time Iran itself didn’t announce the deaths. Both strikes, coupled with a series of international media reports quoting “Western intelligence officials,” reveal that Iran is trying to establish a large-scale drone program in Syria, as part of efforts to expand its military presence there. Haaretz

Records Tied To 'Access Hollywood Tape' Sought In FBI's Cohen Raid
Evidence that attorney Michael Cohen made payments ahead of the 2016 election to silence women alleging they had affairs with Trump was also a focus of the search. In the 2005 recording, Trump talked about pursuing a married woman and bragged about being able to grope women because of his fame. "When you're a star, they let you do it," Trump said. USA Today
VOA VIEW: The liberal left is trying to misdirect the facts.

Former House Speaker John Boehner Is Now Lobbying For Medical Marijuana
The decision to support weed comes nine years after the Republican claimed to be “unalterably opposed” to legalization, according to Bloomberg. “Over the last 10 or 15 years, the American people’s attitudes have changed dramatically,” he said the website. “I find myself in that same position.” Boehner said his position on pot evolved after he saw the positive effects the plant had on a friend dealing with serious back pain. Huffington Post

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Trump Deputy National Security Adviser Nadia Schadlow Resigns
“‘The Administration thanks Dr. Schadlow for her service and leadership in crafting the President’s ‘America First’ National Security Strategy,” White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement. “The strategy has set a strong foundation going forward for protecting the homeland, promoting American prosperity, preserving peace through strength and advancing American influence. We wish Nadia and her family the best.” Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: A change is needed.

Aviation Officer Who Dragged Doctor From United Plane Sues Airline
An aviation officer who was fired for dragging a passenger from his seat off a United Airlines plane last year is suing his former employer, claiming that he had not been trained to deal with unruly passengers. Video circulated on social media showed Dao with a bloody face and forcibly being pulled by his arms. The airline later confirmed that the 69-year-old physician and his wife had been involuntarily bumped to make room for United employees. ABC

Google To Launch New Gmail Design In Coming Weeks
The calendar was updated with modern icons, colors, and cleaner event boxes. Overall the design looked a lot more like the mobile app, and it’s reasonable to assume that Gmail itself will be updated in a similar way. Google did radically redesign Gmail for its separate Inbox app back in 2014, but the company has stuck to the original Gmail design so far for its web version. The Verge

Trump's Deadline For Syria Response Has Passed. Now What?
As someone who once criticized President Barack Obama for offering public timelines on American military engagement overseas, US President Donald Trump may have backed himself into a corner following his own promise to respond, and respond harshly, to the deadly chemical attacks in Syria. Last week he declared he wanted to withdraw US troops from Syria as soon as possible. CNN

Turkey's Ever-Closer Ties With Russia Leave US Lacking Key Ally On Syria
As the prospect grows of military confrontation with Russia in the skies over Syria, the US is counting on support from European partners such as France and the UK. But help from a key regional ally – Turkey – is less certain, despite its position on Syria’s northern border and opposition to Bashar al-Assad’s regime. There are echoes of 2003, when Turkey refused to back the US-led invasion of Iraq.  Guardian

Sinclair Chairman Broke Restraining Order And Allegedly Threatened Neighbor
The executive chairman of the Sinclair television group has run into trouble at courts in two states for his alleged conduct during disputes with neighbours. David D Smith was temporarily barred from contacting a tenant on land that he owns in Maryland after he was accused of making threats, which he denies. He was separately found in contempt of court by a judge in Maine for breaching a restraining order. Guardian

Trump Describes Chaos In WH While Saying It's 'Very Calm', And 'Feels Great'
"So much Fake News about what is going on in the White House. Very calm and calculated with a big focus on open and fair trade with China, the coming North Korea meeting and, of course, the vicious gas attack in Syria. Feels great to have Bolton & Larry K on board" Trump said. "I (we) are doing things that nobody thought possible, despite the never ending and corrupt Russia Investigation, which takes tremendous time and focus. Business Insider

Mexico Awaits Details Of Plan To Bring Auto Engines To US
In an idea aimed at breaking a deadlock in talks, Washington last month suggested some automotive production should happen in areas of North America paying higher salaries. U.S. negotiators discussing changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) floated the idea that 40 percent of automotive production must happen in areas paying wages of between $16 to $19 per hour, Fausto Cuevas, the director general of auto industry group AMIA, said on Tuesday. Reuters

As Trump Weighs Syria Strike, Macron Is His Go-To Guy In Europe
Trump spoke twice in 24 hours with French President Emmanuel Macron about what he called the atrocity in Syria. Three days passed before the U.S. president spoke with another world leader about a response. Macron’s status as head of the European Union’s foremost military power gives him a leg up over other EU chiefs who are often derided by Trump: France’s prime minister, foreign minister and government spokesman have all indicated that France would join the U.S in a punitive strike against the Syrian regime. Bloomberg

Accused Parkland Killer Wants To Give Inheritance To Victims
Nikolas Cruz, 19, appeared at a hearing in Broward County Circuit Court in Fort Lauderdale to determine whether he is truly indigent or if he stands to collect up to $800,000 from his late mother's estate and various other financial accounts in his name. It was previously determined that Cruz could not afford his own attorney and the Broward County Public Defender's Office was appointed to represent him. Judge Elizabeth Scherer is attempting to determine if the public defender's office should be dismissed from representing Cruz if he has the means to afford a private attorney. ABC

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Trump Deputy National Security Adviser Nadia Schadlow Resigns
“‘The Administration thanks Dr. Schadlow for her service and leadership in crafting the President’s ‘America First’ National Security Strategy,” White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement. “The strategy has set a strong foundation going forward for protecting the homeland, promoting American prosperity, preserving peace through strength and advancing American influence. We wish Nadia and her family the best.” Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: A change is needed.

Aviation Officer Who Dragged Doctor From United Plane Sues Airline
An aviation officer who was fired for dragging a passenger from his seat off a United Airlines plane last year is suing his former employer, claiming that he had not been trained to deal with unruly passengers. Video circulated on social media showed Dao with a bloody face and forcibly being pulled by his arms. The airline later confirmed that the 69-year-old physician and his wife had been involuntarily bumped to make room for United employees. ABC

Google To Launch New Gmail Design In Coming Weeks
The calendar was updated with modern icons, colors, and cleaner event boxes. Overall the design looked a lot more like the mobile app, and it’s reasonable to assume that Gmail itself will be updated in a similar way. Google did radically redesign Gmail for its separate Inbox app back in 2014, but the company has stuck to the original Gmail design so far for its web version. The Verg

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A Key Russian Figure With Connections To The NRA Faces Sanctions
Torshin is now on the list by authority of an executive order signed in 2014 relating to Russia's annexation of Crimea and interference in Ukraine. According to the text of the executive order, these sanctions freeze any American-based or -linked assets Torshin may have and bans his travel to the United States. According to Treasury, "U.S. persons are generally prohibited from dealings" with the newly sanctioned individuals. Rolling Stone

Slovenians Stand Up For First Lady! Slam Jimmy Kimmel
The comedian on Jimmy Kimmel Live! played footage of Trump reading a book to children at the White House Easter Egg Roll and laughed and mocked her accent, repeating her words, “this and that,” as, “dees and dat.” Another Sevnica resident, Helena Horjak, 24, told USA Today that “it’s very hard to speak English.” "Melania's been in the U.S. so long and she still has some problems, but Jimmy Kimmel should come to Slovenia and see how hard it is to speak another language," said Horjak. Newsweek
VOA VIEW: Kimmel should have been fired.

Ivanka Trump To Promote Women's Economic Empowerment In Peru
President Donald Trump's daughter and senior adviser will be part of the U.S. delegation to the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru, led by Vice President Mike Pence. The president has pulled out of the event so he can oversee the U.S. response to an apparent chemical weapons attack on civilians in Syria. Ivanka Trump says she plans to announce an initiative "to propel women's economic empowerment in the region" and will stop at Lima's stock exchange to meet with female corporate leaders and entrepreneurs. Bloomberg

Indiscreet Former FBI Director, James Comey Compares Trump To Mob Boss
During his first sit-down interview since being fired last year, former FBI Director James Comey reportedly compared President Donald Trump to a "mob boss." A source present at the ABC News taping told Axios that an upcoming "20/20" interview with George Stephanopoulos will "certainly add more meat to the charges swirling around Trump." CNN

Justice Department Turns Over Document That Launched Russia Probe
Nunes, a California Republican, had demanded an unredacted version of the document by Wednesday afternoon, and the Justice Department provided one with a few redactions that it deemed necessary for national security. Nunes praised the cooperation and said the document would aid his committee’s “ongoing investigation” of the department and the FBI. Politico
VOA VIEW: It took threats to get what they got.

Futile Air Strikes Won't Defeat Assad And Putin
Kilometres matter. If you’ve been anywhere near war, you will know that one kilometre away is better than 100 metres away. Two kilometres is much better than one. Ten kilometres away and your can smoke a shisha pipe while your shaking hands stroke the stray cats, who also understand the power of distance. Since the Iraq war, military strategists on all sides have reached for the safety of distance. If Britain joins US-led strikes on the Assad regime in response to the gas attack on Douma, it will probably fire Storm Shadow missiles, which can cruise to a target up to 560km away from the aircraft that releases them. New Statesman

Trump Sanctions Putin’s Son-in-Law, But Not Putin
On Friday, after months of internal deliberations and delays, the Trump Administration imposed tough sanctions on seven of Russia’s richest oligarchs—all of whom have ties to President Vladimir Putin—and seventeen top Kremlin officials. Many are major players in Russia’s security apparatus. Among those targeted is a young billionaire who married Putin’s daughter and an oligarch who has been linked to Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign manager indicted by the special counsel Robert Mueller. The New Yorker

Fake Hillary Clinton Sex Video Traced Back To Russian Trolls
The Internet Research Agency, or IRA, is described as a “troll farm” and has become known for deploying an army of users and bots to post divisive political content during the 2016 presidential election. The troll farm has been connected to both Vladimir Putin and Russian spy agencies. The offending GIF was posted to Reddit in 2016 and the video to pornographic streaming platform Pornhub, where it has been viewed more than 250,000 times, according to NBC. NY Post

Netflix Sued Over Allegations Of 'Rigged' Bonus Payments
The complaint comes three months after Netflix converted its executives’ cash bonus system into salary under Donald Trump’s new tax law – a change that ensures executives are paid in full regardless of company’s performance. The lawsuit claims Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, will receive a salary of $12m for the current year – more than last year’s salary and cash bonus combined.  Guardian

Zuckerberg Takes Heat Over Opioid Sales On Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg took heat from members of Congress Wednesday over illegal opioid sales on Facebook. Rep. David McKinley, a Republican from West Virginia, was one of those who pressed Zuckerberg on why Facebook hasn't done more to remove posts from sellers offering illicit opioids. "Your platform is still being used to circumvent the law and allow people to buy highly addictive drugs without a prescription. With all due respect, Facebook is actually enabling an illegal activity and in so doing, you are hurting people. CNN Money
VOA VIEW: It is clear that Zuckerberg played dumb, or does not know the entire danger of Facebook.

Trump's War On Gangs
US President Donald Trump's administration has declared war on the MS-13 gang. The "war on gangs" is a large-scale effort taking place in major cities across the US, with profound impacts on the communities being targeted. Long Island, New York and surrounding areas have been hit especially hard. In the past year, the US government has arrested hundreds of people in this region as part of the crackdown on MS-13. Aljazeera

Putin: 'The World Is Becoming More Chaotic'
Russian ambassadors and their foreign counterparts must grapple with the fact that “the world is becoming more chaotic,” President Vladimir Putin told a diplomatic assembly Wednesday. “The situation in the world is becoming more chaotic, nevertheless we still hope that common sense will eventually prevail, and that international relations will take a constructive course, and the entire world system will become more stable and predictable.” Washington Examiner

'We'll Hit You First' Declares Netanyahu
The remark came just hours after the US and Russian officials said Israel was behind an attack on Syrian air base on Monday that killed some 14 people, including four Iranians.Netanyahu couched his speech as addressing Hamas, the Islamist militant group that rules Gaza and whom Israel has blamed for orchestrating protests over the last two weeks by tens of thousands of Gaza residents. i24 Israel

Cali Gov Agrees To Deploy 400 NG Troops-But Not For Immigration Enforcement
California Gov. Jerry Brown responded to President Donald Trump’s request to add more troops for border security, saying he’ll add about 400 troops, but also saying they won’t used for “enforcing federal immigration laws.” "But let’s be crystal clear on the scope of this mission. This will not be a mission to build a new wall. It will not be a mission to round up women and children or detain people escaping violence and seeking a better life. And the California National Guard will not be enforcing federal immigration laws." KCRA NBC

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