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NEWS   TUESDAY, FEBRUARY  28, 2017   NEWS

Gregg Jarrett: Pelosi's Crazy Claims About Priebus' Contact With The FBI Don't Add Up
Nancy Pelosi is nothing, if not inane. She is, of course, the former Speaker of the House who infamously said of ObamaCare, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it.” And who can forget the time she claimed that “500 million people will lose their jobs each month until we have an economic package" ?  Which is a pretty neat trick since there are roughly 300 million people living in the U.S. So, it is understandable that Pelosi’s latest statement was met with the usual eye-rolling. She all but accused the Trump White House of obstructing justice when she described Chief of Staff Reince Priebus’s conversation with a senior FBI official as “a grave abuse of power…which may also be illegal.” Fox News
VOA VIEW: Pelosi is mad.

Bush Breaks Silence On Trump, Urges 'Welcoming' Immigration Policy
Former President George W. Bush offered what appeared to be a thinly veiled critique of his Republican successor on Monday, as he defended the importance of the media and immigration policies that are "welcoming." Bush, during an interview on NBC's “Today” show to promote a new book of military portraits, addressed a range of President Trump controversies, specifically when asked about the executive order to temporarily restrict travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries. That order stalled in court, though Trump is expected to issue a new -- but similar -- order this week. Fox News

How Paul Ryan Is Getting Trump's Team Ready For Battles In Congress
It's hard to overstate how much is on House Speaker Paul Ryan's plate right now. He presides over a restive group of Republicans who deposed his predecessor. He's dealing with a new president who -- even on his best days -- refuses to stick to the script and has no trouble throwing party orthodoxy out the window. Many of the top staffers he has to work with in the new administration have no idea how Congress works. And the legislative agenda President Donald Trump is demanding and administration officials say he will reiterate Tuesday during an address to Congress -- a swift repeal and replacement of Obamacare and the first overhaul of the tax system in three decades -- is ambitious, to say the least. CNN
VOA VIEW: Expected from CNN.

Trump: 'Nobody Knew Health Care Could Be So Complicated'
President Donald Trump noted with some exasperation Monday the complexity of the nation's health laws, which he's vowed to reform as part of a bid to scrap Obamacare. "We have come up with a solution that's really, really I think very good," Trump said at a meeting of the nation's governors at the White House.
"Now, I have to tell you, it's an unbelievably complex subject," he added. "Nobody knew health care could be so complicated." CNN

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Trump To Tell ‘Poorest' Communities ‘HELP IS ON THE WAY’
President Donald Trump will trumpet inclusion, unity and help for all Americans in Tuesday’s nationally-televised address to Congress, a preview of the speech provided to CNSNews.com reveals. According to advance notes provided by the White House, Trump’s address “crosses the traditional lines of party, race and socioeconomic status” and invites “Americans of all backgrounds to come together” to make the American Dream attainable for everyone. “It will be a speech addressed to ALL Americans AS Americans – not a coalition of special interests and minor issues,” the White House promises. CNS News

Nunes: ‘We Still Have Not Seen Any Evidence’ Of Trump Campaign Communicating With Russians
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chair of the House intelligence committee, told reporters on Monday that there is no evidence that any campaign officials -- from either the Trump or the Clinton campaigns -- had any contact with the Russian government or Russian agents before the election. Nunes called the Monday news conference to refute a Feb. 14 report in the New York Times that said: “[M]embers of Trump’s presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election.” CNS News
VOA VIEW: Why would we investigate an non invent?

Countering Anti-Trump Protests, President's Fans Organize Their Own Rallies
Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump were holding rallies in towns and cities across the country on Monday, partly as a rebuttal to waves of anti-Trump protests that have taken place since the Republican's election last November. Trump was not scheduled to appear at any of this week's rallies. The venues range from a park in the small town of Gravette, Arkansas, to the plaza outside the Georgia State Capitol building in downtown Atlanta. In Atlanta, a crowd of about 200 mostly white supporters gathered on an overcast day. Reuters

Trump Seeks 'Historic' Increase Of 9 Percent In U.S. Military's Budget
President Donald Trump is seeking what he called a "historic" 9 percent increase in military spending, even as the United States has wound down major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and remains the world's strongest military power. Trump will ask Congress to boost Pentagon spending in the next fiscal year by $54 billion in his first budget proposal and slash the same amount from non-defense spending, including a large reduction in foreign aid, a White House budget official said on Monday. Reuters
VOA VIEW: The Pentagon before given a penny must first show responsibility - there is too much fraud, waste and ineptness.

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WHO Superbug List: Enemy No. 1 Is Bug That Plagues Soldiers
Drug-resistant germs that caused horrible wound infections among soldiers in the Vietnam War, and bloodstream infections among military patients in Iraq and Afghanistan, top a new list of superbug enemies put out by the World Health Organization Monday. It's the first-ever priority list written up by WHO, which wants to push drug companies and governments to put money and effort into developing new and better antibiotics. "This is truly urgent," WHO's Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny told a news conference. "These bacteria are responsible for severe infections and high mortality rates mostly in hospitalized patients, transplant recipients, those receiving chemotherapy or patients in intensive care units." MSNBC

Judge Rules Bill Cosby Case To Be Decided By Outside Jury
A sequestered jury from an outside county will decide the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby, a suburban Philadelphia judge ruled Monday, rejecting a defense request to move the trial itself because of worldwide media reports they say brand the actor a "serial rapist." Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill will oversee a June 5 trial over charges that Cosby drugged and molested a former Temple University employee in 2004. O'Neill's ruling came after lawyers for the 79-year-old TV star argued that his trial should be moved to Philadelphia or the Pittsburgh area. The larger, more diverse population would make it easier to find unbiased jurors, lawyer Brian McMonagle argued, but even then, he said, there was no guarantee that Cosby could get a fair hearing. MSNBC

Obama Loyalists Suspected Of ‘Sabotage’ With Leak Of Travel Ban Report
Trump administration officials believe that a Department of Homeland Security report that undercut the president’s position on his travel ban was drafted with the express intent of leaking it to the press, a source close to the department says. The source said the report was drafted by those loyal to the Obama administration inside the department’s office of intelligence and analysis. The drafters relied solely on open source material, which meant it could be delivered to reporters without violating federal laws on mishandling classified information. “This was not really a leak but sabotage,” the source said. “This report was commentary. This is insurrection. They all took an oath.” Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Obama the loser.

Justice Department Withdraws Obama-Era Challenge To Texas Voter ID Law
The Justice Department is reversing course in a long-running lawsuit over a Texas voter identification law — a significant shift under President Trump that comes four years after Obama administration lawyers joined civil rights groups in their challenge of the Texas law. The Justice Department on Monday informed attorneys for a civil rights group challenging the voter ID law that the government plans to file court papers to withdraw the DOJ’s discriminatory purpose claim. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Great!

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Did 5 Carmakers Knowingly Use Unsafe Takata Air Bags?
Japanese auto parts maker Takata pleaded guilty on Monday to a criminal charge and agreed to pay $1 billion for a scheme to conceal a deadly defect in millions of its air bag inflators. In addition, plaintiffs in dozens of lawsuits against the air bag maker and five automakers allege the car companies knew that Takata’s products were dangerous yet continued to use them for years in order to save money. Takata admits to hiding problems that can cause inflators to explode with too much force, hurling shrapnel into drivers and passengers. U.S. prosecutors still are seeking extradition of three former Takata executives from Japan to face criminal charges. CBS

Moms Are Much More Sleep-Deprived
This will come as no surprise to mothers, but a new survey finds that women with children living at home are more likely to be sleep-deprived than women without children. However, the presence of children in the home did nothing to alter men’s sleep patterns. The researchers also found that women with children reported feeling tired more days a month than their child-free counterparts. “Forty-eight percent of women with children reported at least seven hours of sleep, compared to 62 percent of women without children,” said study leader Kelly Sullivan. She’s an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University. CBS

Spicer: 'We Did Our Job' By Arranging Pushback Against Russia Reports
White House press secretary Sean Spicer told ABC News' Jonathan Karl that the White House "did [its] job" by pointing reporters to sources who could dispute The New York Times' reporting on the Trump campaign contacting Russians prior to the election. "I will say I think we did our job very effectively by making sure that reporters who had questions about the accuracy and claims in The New York Times, we were pointing them to experts who understood whether or not that story was accurate or not," Spicer told Karl. "So, the answer is, you know, we have continued to give reporters information and sources that went to the accuracy or lack thereof of a report in a newspaper." ABC

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1St Senior Chinese Official Visits Washington In Trump Era
China is sending its first senior official to visit the United States since President Donald Trump took office, amid uncertainties over trade relations and new security tensions in east Asia. The Foreign Ministry said State Councilor Yang Jiechi is scheduled to "exchange views on bilateral ties and issues of mutual concern" in meetings with high-ranking U.S. officials during his visit on Monday and Tuesday. Yang is Chinese President Xi Jinping's top foreign policy adviser and a familiar face in Washington. He has served as foreign minister and ambassador to the U.S., presenting a degree of continuity in a relationship now seen as somewhat in flux. ABC

Mexico Warns U.S. It'll Cut Off Nafta Talks If Tariffs Added
Mexico’s top trade negotiator doubled down on threats to break off talks to rework Nafta, saying his country will walk away if the U.S. insists on slapping duties or quotas on any products from south of the border. “The moment that they say, ‘We’re going to put a 20 percent tariff on cars,’ I get up from the table,” Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said in an interview. “Bye-bye.” This doesn’t mean, Guajardo emphasized, that Mexico would be looking to scrap Nafta. But by saying it refuses to even discuss the kind of tariffs President Donald Trump has long trumpeted, the country is ratcheting up the pressure on U.S. negotiators and effectively daring them to pull out of the 23-year-old pact. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: Let Mexico jump if they feel like a rabbit - they will lose.

Earth’s Orbiting Junkyard Threatens The Space Economy
You never see it in those lovely NASA pictures of Earth, but the space surrounding our pale blue dot is a cosmic junkyard. Debris abounds, moving at ludicrous speeds and presenting plenty of hassles for satellite operators who do business in orbit. This pollution poses an existential risk for greater commercialization of space, from the grand ambitions of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Corp. and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin LLC to other players who see promising futures for an array of space activities, from tourism, to imaging, to pharmaceutical research. Bloomberg

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Pentagon Presenting Counter-ISIS Plan To White House
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is presenting the White House with a plan to "rapidly defeat" the Islamic State group, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday. The strategy includes significant elements of the approach President Donald Trump inherited, while potentially deepening U.S. military involvement in Syria. Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said Mattis provided the results of his 30-day strategy review ahead of a Monday afternoon Cabinet-level meeting of the National Security Council. It's unclear if the discussion will include Trump, who said last week his goal is to "obliterate" IS. Davis said details of the report are classified secret. "It is a plan to rapidly defeat ISIS," Davis said, using the Pentagon's preferred acronym for the group, which has proven resilient despite losing ground in its strongholds Syria and Iraq. Las Vegas Sun

Jewish Centers Cope With Bomb Threats; Graves Vandalized
Jewish centers and schools across the nation coped with another wave of bomb threats Monday as officials in Philadelphia began raising money to repair and restore hundreds of vandalized headstones at a Jewish cemetery. Jewish Community Centers and day schools in at least a dozen states received threats, according to the JCC Association of North America. No bombs were found. All 20 buildings — 13 community centers and seven schools — were cleared by Monday afternoon and had resumed normal operations, the association said. Las Vegas Sun

Study Finds Patients Choosing Cannabis Over Opioids
Researchers from the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria have found patients prefer cannabis over opioid medication to treat chronic pain and mental health issues. "This study is one of the first to track medical cannabis use under the new system of licensed producers, meaning that all participants had physician authorization to access cannabis in addition to their prescription medicines," Associate Professor Zach Walsh of UBC and co-author of the study, said in a press release. UPI

Turkey Will End Operation In Syria After Manbij Captured
Turkey plans to end its military operation in Syria after the city of Manbij is captured, an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday at a conference in Moscow. Ilnur Cevik said Turkey is setting up a 56-mile "buffer zone" into Manbij after capturing al-Bab. "Ankara is trying to regain its presence there," Cevik said. "As soon Manbij is captured, Turkey will stop its operation in Syria." Cevik appeared at a conference called "Relations between Turkey and Russia: From the Period of Tension to Strengthening Cooperation." It was organized by Sabah newspaper and the Press and Information Office of the Turkish government. UPI

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'PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT' FOR PROGRESSIVES TO EMBRACE ZIONISM, BERNIE SANDERS SAYS
Bernie Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont who enjoys widespread support among liberal Democrats, told a gathering on Monday that progressives should embrace both the founding principles of Zionism as well as the inherent justice of the Palestinian cause. Speaking before a conference held by J Street, a liberal Jewish American organization that primarily lobbies for a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians, Sanders said that "those of us who support Israel have got to tell the truth about policies that hurt the chances of a peaceful resolution." Jerusalem Post

HERZOG: GET READY FOR MASS ALIYA FROM US DUE TO ANTI-SEMITISM
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog called upon Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to get Israel ready in case there will be massive immigration from the United States due to ongoing incidents of anti-Semitism across America. Speaking to his Zionist Union faction, Herzog expressed outrage over cemeteries that have been vandalized in Missouri and Pennsylvania and said they required immediate action by the Israeli government. Jerusalem Post

Syria l-AQaeda Leader 'Targeted In Strike On Car'
The deputy leader of al-Qaeda was the target of an air strike in the Syrian province of Idlib on Sunday, according to unconfirmed reports. It is not clear whether Abu al-Khayr al-Masri survived the attack. The Egyptian is second-in-command to overall al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Syrian opposition activists, the Local Co-ordination Committees, posted photographs showing a car in which two people had been killed, it said. The car, in the town of al-Mastuma, was targeted by "international coalition aircraft", the group said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that an al-Qaeda official was killed in a strike, but did not confirm it was Abu al-Khayr al-Masri. BBC

Dow Jones Stock Index Hits Best Winning Streak In 30 Years
The US Dow Jones stock index has closed at a record high for the 12th day running as Donald Trump promised a "big" infrastructure announcement. It is the longest winning streak for the share index since January 1987. Analysts said Wall Street was buoyed by hopes the US president would set out more on his spending and tax plans in a speech to Congress on Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, one of the US's three main stock indexes, finished 15 points higher at 20,837. Ahead of the speech, Mr Trump said: "We're going to make it easier for states to invest in infrastructure and I'm going to have a big statement tomorrow night on infrastructure." BBC

NGO Rescues Off Libya Encourage Traffickers, Says EU Borders Chief
NGOs who rescue people in the sea off Libya are encouraging traffickers who profit from dangerous Mediterranean crossings, the head of the EU border agency Frontex has said. Speaking to Germany’s Die Welt newspaper, Fabrice Leggeri called for rescue operations to be re-evaluated and accused NGOs of ineffectively cooperating with security agencies against human traffickers. The comments provoked a bitter row with charities and leftwing groups, who said there was no evidence of a lack of cooperation and that the alternative to rescue operations was to leave people to their deaths. Guardian

US State Department Tweets Then Deletes Congratulations For Iranian Asghar Farhadi's Oscar Win
The US state department on Monday issued and then deleted a congratulatory message for an Oscar win by a prominent Iranian director who criticised president Donald Trump's travel ban as "inhumane." The state department's official Persian-language Twitter account, @USAdarFarsi, tweeted congratulations to the Iranian people and Asghar Farhadi, director of The Salesman, after the movie won an Oscar for best foreign-language film on Sunday, according to screenshots of the message circulated on Twitter. Telegraph

SpaceX To Send Two Paying Tourists Around The Moon And Deep Into Space Next Year
SpaceX has announced it will fly two, mystery paying customers on a tourist trip around the moon next year. What will be the first-ever privately-funded tourist flight beyond the International Space Station will use a spaceship under development for Nasa astronauts. "Like the Apollo astronauts before them, these individuals will travel into space carrying the hopes and dreams of all humankind, driven by the universal human spirit of exploration," SpaceX said in statement. Telegraph

In Yemen, UN Aid Chief Rallies Support For Relief Efforts To Prevent Famine
The parties to the conflict in Yemen need to continue providing humanitarian access, and the international community needs to step up its funding for life-saving operations, the United Nations relief aid chief said today during his visit to the port city of Aden. “I have come to Aden with the first humanitarian UN flight to lend support to the humanitarians who have been working in this city and in Yemen since the conflict escalated in March 2015,” UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien told reporters there. “Today, almost 19 million people in Yemen need humanitarian assistance. Seven million people don't know where their next meal is coming from and we now face a serious risk of famine,” he added. Mr. O'Brien said the purpose of his visit was also to meet with senior Government officials to discuss how to prevent a possible famine and how to better protect the civilians that are caught in this conflict. UN News

Germany: UN Rights Panel Highlights Racial Profiling Against People Of African Descent
People of African descent in Germany suffer racial discrimination, Afrophobia and racial profiling in their daily lives, but their situation remains largely invisible to the wider society, a United Nations expert panel said today at the end of its first official visit to the country. “The repeated denial that racial profiling does not exist in Germany by police authorities and the lack of an independent complaint mechanism at federal and state level fosters impunity,” said Ricardo Sunga, who currently heads the expert panel, in a news release issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). UN News

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