NY Times Slams AWOL Pompeo, Then Learns He Was Rescuing Americans
As the New York Times was bashing Mike Pompeo for being missing in action while President Trump tore up the Iran nuclear deal, it turned out the secretary of state was busy rescuing three Americans who have been held captive in North Korea. In an apparent jab at the administration, The Times’ headline said, “At a Key Moment, Trump’s Top Diplomat Is Again Thousands of Miles Away.” Fox
VOA VIEW: As usual the NY Times was Trumped.

Former NFL Wide Receiver Wins GOP Primary In Race For House Seat
Former NFL wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez on Tuesday won the Republican primary to replace outgoing Ohio Rep. Jim Renacci in Congress. Gonzalez, 33, defeated state lawmaker Rep. Christina Hagan and physician Michael Gusenmeyer to represent the Republican Party for Renacci’s seat in November, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported. Fox

Trump Says 3 Americans Held In N Korea Have Been Released
President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that three Americans held in North Korea have been released and are on their way back home. "I am pleased to inform you that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the air and on his way back from North Korea with the 3 wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting. They seem to be in good health," Trump tweeted. CNN

Trump: 'Everyone Thinks' I Deserve Nobel Prize
President Donald Trump told reporters Wednesday that while "everyone thinks" he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for his involvement in the warming of relations with North Korea, the only prize he wants is a victory for the world. Trump was asked by a reporter while holding a Cabinet meeting at the White House whether he deserved the honor, to which the President replied with a large smile: "Everyone thinks so, but I would never say it." CNN
VOA VIEW: He did a good job.


Russia Urges Trump-Putin Summit After US Rebuff Of Iran Deal
A summit between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin is “extremely important” to safeguard global stability in the wake of the American president’s decision to quit the Iran nuclear agreement, according to a top Russian diplomat in charge of relations with the U.S. Bloomberg

US Treasury Asks If Cohen Banks Records Were Improperly Leaked
A day after revelations about money flows into an account set up by President Donald Trump’s longtime attorney, the U.S. Treasury’s internal watchdog is reviewing whether confidential banking information was improperly leaked. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: The Mueller probe has over stepped.

Novartis Official: Cohen Was 'Promising Access' After Trump Election
President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, contacted the drug giant Novartis after the 2016 election "promising access" to the new administration, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller later requested information from the company about the offer, a senior official inside Novartis told NBC News on Wednesday. NBC


Gina Haspel Defends Role In Enhanced Interrogation, Vows Not To Restart Program
Gina Haspel, President Trump’s CIA director nominee, did not apologize Wednesday for her role using enhanced interrogation techniques after the 9/11 attacks, but told a Senate panel that she would not revive those practices. “I understand that what many people around the country want to know about are my views on CIA’s former detention and interrogation program," Haspel said in opening remarks before the Senate Intelligence Committee at her confirmation hearing, whose public session lasted three hours. NBC
VOA VIEW: Haspel should not have made operational promises.

Sarah Sanders Says She Hasn't Heard Any "Specific Concerns" From Trump On Cohen Payment Claims
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders fielded a range of foreign and domestic policy questions from reporters Wednesday afternoon — but offered little new information. She declined to extensively address questions about alleged payments from major companies to longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen, referring questions to the president's personal legal team. "As you know due to the complicated components of this investigation I would refer you to outside counsel to address those concerns," Sanders told reporters. CBS

Mormon Church Will Sever Ties With Boy Scouts, Create Own Youth Program
The Mormon church and the Boy Scouts of America have announced that they are ending their relationship, after more than 100 years of close ties.
In a joint statement, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts said that as the church's membership is increasingly living outside the United States, it "felt the need to create and implement a uniform youth leadership and development program that serves its members globally. In so doing, it will be necessary for the Church to discontinue its role as a chartered partner." NPR

Trump: Iran May Get 'Strongest Sanctions Ever' From US
After pulling the United States out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday his administration plans to put strong sanctions on Iran "very soon." Trump made the remarks during a Cabinet meeting at the White House. "We have terminated a terrible, terrible deal that should have never, ever been made," he said. "And we will be putting on among the strongest sanctions that we've ever put on a country." UPI
VOA VIEW: Liberals can cry.

Hawaii's New Risk After Eruption-Acid Rain
With rain expected on the Big Island of Hawaii this week, residents are facing a new threat after the Kilauea volcanic eruption -- acid rain. Along with lava and volcanic ash spewing from the ground, fissures are emitting high levels of toxic Sulphur gases that react with oxygen, moisture and sunlight. The reaction could produce volcanic smog and acid rain, known as vog. UPI

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US Says It Is Committed To Working With N Korea To Achieve Peace
The United States is committed to working with North Korea to achieve peace on the Korean peninsula, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told North Korean officials in Pyongyang on Wednesday. “I have high expectations the United States will play a very big role in establishing peace on the Korean peninsula,” said Kim Yong Chol, director of the United Front Department responsible for North-South relations. The remarks were provided in a pool report. Reuters

Rising Border Prosecutions? US Court Backlog Grows.
At the height of President Barack Obama’s crackdown on illegal crossings from Mexico seven years ago, San Diego’s federal courts were so clogged that immigrants arrested near the border sometimes slept on the floor of border patrol stations for days before seeing a judge. Now, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vow to criminally prosecute all those caught entering the United States illegally, which he reiterated on Monday, some judges and attorneys worry the courts are headed toward similar backlogs. Reuters
VOA VIEW: There has to be zero tolerance and entry.

Porn Star's Lawyer Says Russian Paid Michael Cohen
Stormy Daniels' lawyer said Tuesday he has information showing that Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's longtime personal attorney, received $500,000 from a company associated with a Russian billionaire within months of paying hush money to Daniels, a porn star who claims she had an affair with Trump. Lawyer Michael Avenatti also said hundreds of thousands of dollars streamed into Cohen's account from companies, including pharmaceutical giant Novartis, AT&T and Korea Aerospace, with U.S. government business interests. Newsday

All New California Homes Must Incorporate Solar
Starting in 2020, virtually all new homes in California will be required to incorporate advanced efficiency measures and rooftop solar — in an historic development for clean energy in the state. The California Energy Commission (CEC) voted unanimously to adopt the policy today as part of the state’s Building Energy Efficiency Standards, following more than two years of work with a wide range of stakeholders to develop the technical requirements. Green Tech Media
VOA VIEW: Total madness that makes those is solar very wealthy.

Don Jr. Moving On With Fox Host Kimberly Guilfoyle
Amid his divorce from his wife of 12 years, Donald Trump Jr. has started dating stunning Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle. Multiple sources exclusively tell Page Six that Don Jr. and Guilfoyle, a co-host of “The Five,” have been dating for a few weeks, as his divorce from Vanessa Trump proceeds. One source exclusively told Page Six, “Don Jr. and Kimberly are seeing each other, and are having a great time. While he wants to respect the privacy of his family, he is getting divorced, and he enjoys Kimberly’s company.” Page Six

Peyton Manning Now Debating Offer To Own NFL Team
Peyton Manning’s post-career hobby could finally be coming into view. Manning is considering an offer from billionaire Ben Navarro to join his group that is bidding on ownership of the Panthers, the Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday. Navarro is considered the leading bidder of four groups seeking majority control over the franchise, which it has lacked since longtime owner Jerry Richardson stepped down in the midst of an investigation into multiple allegations of sexual and racial misconduct against him. NY Post

Bernie Sanders Introduces Bill Protecting Employees Fired For Union Organizing
Former presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders is hoping the recent wave of teacher strikes will help him pass a new law that will protect workers fired for union organizing. Sanders introduced the Workplace Democracy Act in the Senate on Wednesday. The bill has already gained the support of potential 2020 presidential candidates such as Senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand. Riding a wave of pro-union momentum generated by teachers’ strikes nationwide, organized labor and its allies are hoping that the 2018 election will finally be the year to pass labor law reform. Guardian


AG Beat Ex-Con In West Virginia GOP Senate Primary
Republican voters rejected ex-convict Don Blankenship in a West Virginia Senate primary in which he sold himself as "Trumpier than Trump" but was vigorously opposed by the president. GOP voters in Indiana, meanwhile, chose wealthy businessman Mike Braun over two sitting congressmen to lead the party's charge against a vulnerable Democratic senator in the fall. President Donald Trump and his allies cheered the West Virginia result Tuesday night, which helped avert a potential political disaster for a GOP already bracing for major losses in the November midterm elections. Newsday

Haspel's Lack Of Clear Answers Frustrates Senate Democrats
Gina Haspel, grilled about her time running a covert detention site where suspects were brutally interrogated during George W Bush’s “war on terror”, failed to explicitly condemn such techniques as immoral. Twice the hearing on Capitol Hill was interrupted by protesters, one of whom yelled, “Bloody Gina! You are a torturer,” before being dragged out by police. Guardian
VOA VIEW: Democrates did not get answers the liked or wanted.

Trump Praises Controversial Candace Owens As A 'Very Smart Thinker'
Donald Trump tweeted praise for conservative YouTube star and TV pundit Candace Owens Wednesday morning, calling the controversial commentator part of “an ever expanding group of very smart ‘thinkers’.” “Candace Owens of Turning Point USA is having a big impact on politics in our Country,” the president said. “It is wonderful to watch and hear the dialogue going on ... so good for our Country!” Guardian

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Rand Paul: 'Past Time' To Leave Afghanistan
Stunned anew by reports that waste and corruption in Afghanistan has consumed up to 50 percent of U.S. taxpayer spending there, Sen. Rand Paul on Wednesday called for a full U.S. withdrawal and a funding shift to America's infrastructure. In a hearing where the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, John F. Sopko, listed wasteful projects and said the Taliban was taking over huge swaths of the nation, Paul said it is time to leave the war torn nation after 16 years. Washington Examiner

Treasury Official Forced Woman To Give Oral Sex
The Treasury Department is aware of and protecting the identity of a U.S. diplomatic official who was accused of forcing a woman at a party to have oral sex in the ambassador's maid's quarters on New Year's Eve 2014, according to a report published Wednesday afternoon. Washington Examiner
VOA VIEW: Madness!

New U.S. Ambassador To Germany Grenell Irks His Hosts The Day He Arrives
Germany waited nearly 16 months for the Trump administration to send a new ambassador to Berlin. But Richard Grenell managed to offend many Germans the day he arrived, when he posted this note on Twitter: "As @realdonaldtrump said, US sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran's economy. German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately." NPR

Iran Fires Rockets At Golan Heights, Israel Says
About 20 projectiles were fired into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights by Iranian forces on Thursday, but minimal damage was reported and there were no Israeli casualties, Israel’s military said. The rockets targeting Israel Defense Forces forward posts in the Golan Heights were fired around 12:10 a.m. Thursday local time (5:10 p.m. Wednesday ET), Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told reporters. NBC
VOA VIEW: Israel will make Iran, or whoever attacks it, pay.

Risk Of Explosions In Coming Weeks From Kilauea Volcano's Summit
The U.S. Geological Survey has warned that the summit of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could experience explosions in coming weeks and send large quantities of ash into the air. Evacuations or significant damage is not expected because the summit is far from populated areas — and 25 miles away from the Leilani Estates neighborhood, where lava flows have destroyed 36 structures since a new eruption began at the volcano this month. LA Times

What Gina Haspel Didn't Tell Us At Her CIA Hearing
Was the CIA's use of torture immoral? Don't ask Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump's nominee to run the agency, because she doesn't have a clear answer -- or, at least, not one she was willing to offer publicly and under oath on Wednesday. Called upon repeatedly during her confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill to address whether the CIA's post-9/11 detainee interrogation techniques were morally objectionable, Haspel demurred, refusing over and over again to address the question directly and without qualification. CNN

NBC Investigation Finds Matt Lauer's Accusers Credible
An NBC Universal investigation into multiple accusations of sexual misconduct by former Today host Matt Lauer found that the allegations were credible, but that the conduct in question was never specifically reported to human resources or to senior NBC News executives. In general, the report concluded, there is not a "widespread or systemic pattern" of inappropriate behavior at NBC News. However, investigators did note that Lauer "frequently engaged in sexual banter or joking in open working environments" with other people around, which may have contributed to an environment where people who experienced harassment did not feel comfortable reporting it. NPR
VOA VIEW: It is hard to believe that NBC News executives did not know about Lauer's behavior.

Trump To Meet With Kim In Singapore
President Trump will likely meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the first time in Singapore, according to reports on Wednesday. Sources told CNN that administration officials were in the process of moving ahead with plans to hold the summit in Singapore. The report comes hours after Trump ruled out the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which separates North and South Korea, as a meeting place. Hill

Europeans Work To Save Iran Deal, And Business
Dismayed European allies sought on Wednesday to salvage the Iran nuclear deal and preserve their Iranian trade after President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the landmark accord and ordered sanctions reimposed on Tehran. “The deal is not dead. There’s an American withdrawal from the deal but the deal is still there,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said. Reuters
VOA VIEW: The present Iran deal is dead.

Graham: If Korean Peace Holds, 'Trump Deserves The Nobel Peace Prize'
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) said Friday that North and South Korea are nearing peace because of the pressure President Donald Trump exerted on Kim Jong Un, adding that if a peace agreement materializes, the president should receive the Nobel Peace Price. Trump imposed sanctions on North Korea and publicly warned Kim to end his nuclear ambitions or face "fire and fury," and widespread criticism followed. In light of the pending denuclearization deal between North and South Korea, however, Graham credited Trump for forcing Kim to the bargaining table. Free Beacon

Monica Lewinsky Says She Was Disinvited From Event Because Of Bill Clinton
Monica Lewinsky said that she was uninvited to an event she had already planned to attend because former President Bill Clinton agreed to go. "Dear world: please don't invite me to an event (esp. one about social change) and — then after I've accepted — uninvite me because Bill Clinton then decided to attend/was invited," the activist and fashion designer wrote on Twitter Wednesday. Although Lewinsky didn't reveal the event in question, HuffPost revealed she was referring to Town & Country magazine's annual philanthropic summit that began on Wednesday morning. NY Daily

Group Of House Republicans Trying To Force Vote On Immigration Legislation
The long-shot legislative maneuver, known as a discharge petition, requires that they persuade at least 218 House members to sign a petition to overrule House Speaker Paul Ryan and other GOP leaders and compel votes on at least four immigration bills. The effort is a rare act of defiance of party leaders by legislators who are eager to avoid an ugly showdown over immigration ahead of the election in November. NPR
VOA VIEW: Liberals are losing.

Monica Lewinsky Says She Was Disinvited From Event Because Of Bill Clinton
Monica Lewinsky said that she was uninvited to an event she had already planned to attend because former President Bill Clinton agreed to go. "Dear world: please don't invite me to an event (esp. one about social change) and — then after I've accepted — uninvite me because Bill Clinton then decided to attend/was invited," the activist and fashion designer wrote on Twitter Wednesday. Although Lewinsky didn't reveal the event in question, HuffPost revealed she was referring to Town & Country magazine's annual philanthropic summit that began on Wednesday morning. NY Daily

Group Of House Republicans Trying To Force Vote On Immigration Legislation
The long-shot legislative maneuver, known as a discharge petition, requires that they persuade at least 218 House members to sign a petition to overrule House Speaker Paul Ryan and other GOP leaders and compel votes on at least four immigration bills. The effort is a rare act of defiance of party leaders by legislators who are eager to avoid an ugly showdown over immigration ahead of the election in November. NPR
VOA VIEW: Liberals are losing.

Malaysia's Mahathir, 92, To Be Sworn In As PM
Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad will be sworn in as the world’s oldest elected leader on Thursday after his opposition alliance pulled off a stunning election win, ending six decades of rule by a coalition he once led. Malaysians celebrated the 92-year-old’s unexpected victory over Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose popularity had plunged over rising living costs and in the wake of a multi-billion-dollar graft scandal at 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Reuters

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Trump May Demand Food Stamp Work Requirments
President Donald Trump may blow up negotiations over the farm bill by demanding work requirements for food stamps. Trump is expected to tell lawmakers Wednesday that he will veto any farm bill that doesn’t include stricter work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly referred to as food stamps, the Wall Street Journal reported. Vox

Haspel's Hearing Interrupted By Protestors
The Senate confirmation hearing for Gina Haspel to become the next director of the CIA has been interrupted by several protesters who accused her of being “torturer” before being removed from the room by Capitol Police. One of the protesters, wearing orange, referred to Ms Haspel — who oversaw a US intelligence "black site" in Thailand in late 2002, where interrogators used techniques described widely regarded as torture by critics— as “bloody Gina” repeatedly as she was led out of the room. Independent UK

EU Tells Trump He Does Not Have The Power To Scrap Iran Deal?
The European Union has rebuked Donald Trump over his move to break the Iran nuclear deal, telling the US president he does not have the power to unilaterally scrap the international agreement. In a statement delivered on Tuesday night EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said the US should reconsider its position, but that it was not within the power of the country’s president to end the accord. Independent UK
VOA VIEW: Trump did not scrap the Iran deal- he took the US out, which was never ratified by Congress.

Iranian Lawmakers Burn U.S. Flag, Question Trump’s ‘Mental Capacity’ After Nuclear Deal Pullout
Iranian lawmakers did not take kindly to President Trump’s announcement Tuesday that the U.S. is walking away from the Iran nuclear deal, chanting “Death to America” and torching a paper American flag on the floor of Parliament in Tehran Wednesday. While the burning of Old Glory isn’t rare in Iran, this was the “first time political observers could remember anything being burned inside the parliament itself,” the AP reports. NY Mag
VOA VIEW: Iran wants the deal because it was good for them.

Trump Admits He Calls All Negative News ‘Fake’
Conservatives have spent decades building a critique of mainstream news, lovingly compiling examples of biased or allegedly biased reporting, and constructing an echo chamber in which the dread Liberal Media can be ignored. Donald Trump is in many ways the culmination of these habits, which he exploited by grasping early on that Republican voters would be willing to forgive literally any lies he uttered, however obvious, because they had been trained to disregard all sources of independent fact. NY Mag

Bennett: Iran Wants Ability To Hit London, Paris, Washington With Missiles
Israel’s Education Minister, Naftali Bennett, praised Trump’s decision on Tuesday to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, saying he reversed history and that the Ayatollah’s time is running out.Speaking to BBC on Tuesday, Bennett slammed Iran but said the world is a safer place now.  “Trump showed great courage and boldness and made the world a much safer place. Iran was racing towards acquiring missiles, developing centrifuges, which it was allowed to do, spreading terror and getting billions of dollars through this terrible deal.  i24 Israel

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