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NEWS   SUNDAY, APRIL  23, 2017   NEWS

DOJ Puts Nine Sanctuary Cities On Notice
The Trump administration put nine of the country’s top sanctuary cities on notice Friday that they could soon have to give up some federal funds unless they can prove they are no longer thwarting Homeland Security’s efforts to deport illegal immigrants.  The entire state of California is being targeted, as are the cities of New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Cook County in Illinois and Miami-Dade County in Florida round out the list. In letters to each of the nine jurisdictions the Justice Department said they signed documents last year, when they applied for Byrne Justice Assistance Grant money, saying they complied with a section of federal law that demands cooperation when immigration agents ask for it. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: No one is above the law - giving sanctuary to anyone breaking a US law is criminal in itself.

Congressman, Mayor Come To NYPD’s Defense After Trump Administration’s ‘Soft On Crime’ Remark
Staten Island’s congressional representative defended the New York Police Department on Friday after the Trump administration took aim at its supposedly “soft on crime” stance.  Rep. Dan Donovan, New York Republican, lauded local law enforcement in a statement of his own Friday following the Justice Department’s decision to send warning letters to New York City and eight other so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions accused of practicing lax immigration policies. “New York City continues to see gang murder after gang murder, the predictable consequence of the city’s ‘soft on crime’ stance,” the Justice Department said. Washington Times

Ryan Promises To Keep Government Open
With less than a week to pass a new spending bill, negotiations between the White House, Republicans and Democrats are ramping up to avoid a government shutdown on April 29.  House leaders told GOP lawmakers Saturday that they plan to devote their energy in the coming week to keeping the federal government open, conspicuously avoiding an immediate commitment to take up health care despite pledges to do so by conservatives and the White House. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), speaking on a conference call with GOP members Saturday afternoon, offered no specific plan on how or when lawmakers might see details of a new proposal to revise the Affordable Care Act, which White House officials suggested might receive a vote by Wednesday. Ryan also made clear that his top priority was to pass a stopgap spending bill to keep government open past April 28, an objective that requires Democratic support. “Wherever we land will be a product the president can and will support.” Ryan said, according to a senior GOP aide on the call. Washington Post
VOA VIEW: Shutting down the government for overspending is not that awesome.

Though Shovels Are Ready, Trump Officials Delay Grant For Caltrain Upgrade
The railway shuttles 65,000 people a day between San Francisco and San Jose, its cars crammed with Silicon Valley workers tapping on sleek laptops and hoisting bikes into designated cars. But the signs of aging are unmistakable — 1980s control panels devoid of digital technology, the dusting of sea-green foam that has escaped from the seat cushions and settled on the floor.  All of that was supposed to change with the launch of a $2 billion upgrade, underwritten in part by a $647 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration approved days before President Barack Obama left office. But then the Trump administration arrived, and within a month the FTA informed Caltrain that it was “deferring a decision.” Washington Post

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Feds Tell Supreme Court That Mug Shots Should Stay Secret
The Justice Department won't budge from its position that federal mug shots of criminals should be kept secret, arguing in a U.S. Supreme Court brief that jailhouse photos are "embarrassing, nonpublic" moments that add to defendants' grief. The agency clarified its stance as part of an ongoing legal battle over whether federal law enforcement, like many states, should be required to hand over booking photos. "Mug shots reveal much more than the sterile fact of arrest and booking," the Justice Department wrote in a Supreme Court brief filed this month. "They graphically depict individuals in the embarrassing, nonpublic moment of their processing into the criminal justice system." The Free Press has won four lawsuits over the issue. USA Today

Air Marshal's Gun Found By Passenger In Pane's Bathroom
An air marshal aboard an international flight bound for New York City left her gun in the plane's bathroom where it was subsequently found by a passenger, the airline said. The incident happened aboard a Delta Airlines flight from the United Kingdom to JFK on April 6. After the air marshal forgot her gun, a passenger found it and gave it to a member of the flight crew, who then returned it to the marshal without incident. Delta reported the incident to the air marshal's supervisor at the Transportation Security Administration days later. UPI
VOA VIEW: The air marshal should be terminated.

Trump Offers 'Congratulations' To Soldier Awarded Purple Heart
President Trump made his first official visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Saturday, awarding a Purple Heart to a soldier injured in Afghanistan and visiting wounded military personnel for an hour and a half. "When I heard about this I wanted to do it myself," Trump said, pinning the Purple Heart to Army Sergeant First Class Alvaro Barrientos. "Congratulations. Tremendous." Barrientos, who was injured while deployed in Afghanistan, sat in a wheelchair with what appeared to be an amputated right leg. Trump pinned the decoration for wounded soldiers on the sergeant's lapel and posed for a photo, clapping him on the back and kissing his wife Tammy on the cheek. USA Today

Researchers Unearth Second Parchment C0py Of Declaration Of Independence
A pair of U.S. archivists said they have uncovered only the second known parchment copy of the Declaration of Independence in a tiny records office in England. The only other known handwritten parchment copy of the Declaration is the one on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Researchers Emily Sneff and Danielle Allen of Harvard University said they uncovered the document after noticing a note in a computer database created to track historic documents. Though skeptical of its authenticity, they traveled to the archive office of the town of Chichester in southern England. There, folded into a small square, was -- for historical archivists -- the find of a lifetime. They said the document probably dates to the 1780s, though they are devising a method to test the parchment without damaging the actual document to confirm their suspicions. UPI

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North Korean Dictator's Resort Revealed As His People Starve
The sprawling resort comprises of luxury villas dotted around Kim’s giant private palace on a wooded estate on the east coast of the hermit nation. A wider shot of Kim’s estate shows a private bridge linking to another part of the island which has a railway, an air strip and a sports stadium. As millions of North Koreans starve, the despot’s guests – members of the nation’s political elite – dine on the finest imported food like lobsters, scallops and French cheeses and wash it down with bottles of champagne, fine wines, whisky and brandy. Former Chicago Bulls basketball star Dennis Rodman – who has struck up a bizarre friendship with the dictator – was a guest at the private retreat. Fox
VOA VIEW: Un should be taken out of office.

Trump Lawyer Told Carter Page to 'Cease' Calling Self Adviser
Donald Trump’s legal team was trying to distance the president from international businessman Carter Page in the aftermath of the 2016 White House race, amid mounting questions about Russia influencing the outcome, according to a letter obtained by Fox News.  Attorney Don McGahn told Page in a December 2016 letter to “immediately cease” saying he is a Trump adviser and to stop suggesting he was more than a short-lived advisory council member “who never actually met with the president-elect.” Page’s communications were being wiretapped by the FBI at least since last summer because the federal government had reason to believe he was acting as a Russian agent, as first reported by The Washington Post. Fox
VOA VIEW: Good!

Scams Push Foreclosure Fraud To Limit, Taking Victims' Homes
The phone call came as Raymond Murray neared the bottom of his luck. His wife had died, his career had been ended by injuries, and struggling to get by on his disability check, he had scraped together just enough to pay a lawyer to avoid imminent foreclosure on his modest Brooklyn home. The man on the phone offered a godsend: The foreclosure could be averted, the legal fees could be eliminated and the monthly mortgage payment he could no longer afford could be trimmed. Soon, Murray was sitting at a conference room table in the man's office, finalizing the fix he believed would keep him in his home. It didn't take long for the sad truth to become clear: This aging immigrant was scammed out of his home. Houston Chronicle

Deputy Shoots Suspect During Confrontation On Interstate
A southwest Florida sheriff's deputy shot a man during a confrontation on Interstate 75.  The News-Press reports (http://newspr.es/2pQo9hu ) that the shooting happened early Saturday. Lee County Undersheriff Carmine Marceno told reporters that the deputy had responded to a 911 call for service on the interstate when the suspect confronted her with a gun. The deputy shot him. Marceno did not release the name of the deputy or the suspect. The suspect was taken to the hospital with unspecified injuries. The deputy was not hurt. Houston Chronicle

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Sanders Speaks To Packed Crowd at Cox Pavil Saturday
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders was a driving force in last year's presidential election cycle, giving eventual Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton all she could handle in a hard-fought Nevada primary. On Saturday, the Vermont senator returned to Las Vegas, urging his supporters to fight back against the policies of President Donald Trump through grassroots campaigning, phone calls and knocking on doors "Trump and the billionaire class have a lot of money and power," Sanders said to a crowd of about 1,000 cheering fans at UNLV's Cox Pavilion. "But what we have that they don’t is the people."Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: It's pitiful what some will follow.

US Defense Sec’y Mattis: Syria Still Has Chemical Weapons
Syria still possesses chemical weapons, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in Israel on Friday, warning against the banned munitions being used again. At a news conference in Tel Aviv, Mattis also said that in recent days the Syrian Air Force has dispersed its combat aircraft. The implication is that Syria may be concerned about additional U.S. strikes following the cruise missile attack earlier this month in retaliation for alleged Syrian use of sarin gas. Mattis spoke alongside Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. "There can be no doubt in the international community's mind that Syria has retained chemical weapons in violation of its agreement and its statement that it had removed them all," said Mattis. He said he didn't want to elaborate on the amounts Syria has in order to avoid revealing sources of intelligence.
Las Vegas Sun

Miami Lawmaker Resigns Over Racial Slur Scandal
Sen. Frank Artiles resigned from the Florida Legislature on Friday, consumed by a scandal that erupted three days earlier over a diatribe of insults the Miami Republican unleashed against two lawmakers at a Tallahassee bar. In a letter to Senate President Joe Negron, Artiles said he was stepping down immediately for the sake of his family and the institution of the Senate, whose work ground to a near halt this week as Republican leaders grappled with Artiles’ political future. “My actions and my presence in government is now a distraction to my colleagues, the legislative process, and the citizens of our great State,” Artiles wrote in a letter hand-delivered by his staff. “I am responsible and I am accountable and effective immediately, I am resigning from the Florida State Senate. Negron forced Artiles to apologize Wednesday on the Senate floor for his alcohol-fueled tirade against Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville in which he called her a “bitch” and a “girl” and referred to some Republicans as “niggas.” But outraged black lawmakers said his apology was not enough: They formally sought his expulsion from the Senate.  Miami Herald
VOA VIEW: Blacks and Democrats can say what they want - Republicans are held to a different standard.

Trump Will Hold Rally Instead of Attending White House Correspondents’ Dinner
President Donald Trump revealed on Saturday what he would be doing instead of attending the White House Correspondents' Dinner: holding a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Trump promised a "BIG" rally next Saturday — which happens to be his 100th day in office. He announced the event a day after he dismissed the 100-day measuring stick that functions as a de facto report card for a new presidency. MSNBC

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Berkeley Is Being Tested on 2 Fronts: Free Speech and Safety
In explaining why it had canceled a speech by Ann Coulter scheduled for next week, the University of California, Berkeley, said that it had “very specific intelligence” that Ms. Coulter might be in “grave danger.” To Ms. Coulter and her supporters, it was another example of Berkeley showing intolerance of any opinions other than the liberal ones it is famous for. But the university that championed free expression in the 1960s has become known, in the polarizing first months of the Trump presidency, as something more: a meeting ground for those wanting to express themselves with wooden clubs and fists. Days after fights broke out between anarchists and right-wing groups near campus, and a couple of months after masked protesters smashed windows and set fires to stop a speech by the incendiary right-wing writer Milo Yiannopoulos, the police are preparing for a possible replay if Ms. Coulter follows through on her vow to show up anyway on Thursday. NewYork Times
VOA VIEW: Berkeley like most universities and colleges are very liberal - a shame.

Power Outage Cripples San Francisco For Seven Hours
A massive power outage threw San Francisco into chaos for most of the work day on Friday, knocking out traffic signals, paralyzing businesses and halting the city's famed cable cars. The power outage, which was triggered by a fire in a PG&E Corp. utility substation, disrupted San Francisco's normally bustling financial district, home to banks and technology companies. Office workers unable to access elevators or use their keycards spilled out onto the sidewalks, some wandering the streets in search of an open cafe or sunny spot to enjoy a rare warm San Francisco day. Others simply went home, with long lines forming for ferries. For many, there was little to do but wait. Reuters

Trying To Avoid Politics, FBI Director James B. Comey Shaped Election
The day before he upended the 2016 election, James B. Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, summoned agents and lawyers to his conference room. They had been debating all day, and it was time for a decision. Comey’s plan was to tell Congress that the FBI had received new evidence and was reopening its investigation into Hillary Clinton, the presidential front-runner. The move would violate the policies of an agency that does not reveal its investigations or do anything that may influence an election. But Comey had declared the case closed, and he believed he was obligated to tell Congress that had changed. “Should you consider what you’re about to do may help elect Donald Trump president?” an adviser asked him, Comey recalled recently at a closed meeting with FBI agents. He could not let politics affect his decision, he replied. Seattle Times

The Former Fox News Host Joins The Long List Of Executives
Don’t let the vault door hit you on the way out. Getting forced out of a job is painful, but a couple (dozen) million dollars help salve the wound. The latest big name to get a big payment with a bye-bye from the boss is Bill O’Reilly. The longtime Fox News host is in line to get up to $25 million, according to media reports, after a string of sexual-harassment allegations led to his ouster. He joins the long list of executives and bold-faced names who have grabbed handsome payouts that have become standard operating procedure for companies to hand out. The reasons for departure can range from the mundane, such as a CEO simply being ineffective in boosting the stock price, to the salacious, with accusations of improper behavior. Seattle Times
 
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American Airlines Apologizes For Onboard Clash Over Stroller
American Airlines (AAL.O) on Saturday apologized to a female passenger and suspended an employee after a video showing an onboard clash over a baby stroller went viral, in the latest embarrassment for a U.S. carrier over how it treated a customer. The clip, posted on Facebook on Friday by a bystander aboard the flight, shows a woman in tears with a young child in her arms, and a man emerging from his seat to confront a male flight attendant who apparently wrested the stroller from the woman. Facebook user Surain Adyanthaya, who posted the video, wrote that the flight attendant had forcefully taken the stroller, hitting the woman with it and just missing her child. That sequence of events did not appear on the clip. What it shows is the unidentified man standing up and yelling at the flight attendant: "You do that to me and I'll knock you flat." The crew member then points his finger angrily and challenges the passenger to hit him. The video shows the man eventually returning to his seat. Reuters

5 Shocking Revelations From The Tennessee Teacher Criminal Complaint
In the days before he allegedly abducted his 15-year-old student, Tennessee teacher Tad Cummins refilled a prescription for Cialis, took out a loan for quick cash and made hotel reservations in another state, actions investigators believe show he was planning to leave with the girl. Details about those facts and other surprising revelations were found in the criminal complaint against Cummins in the sensational case. Cummins' wife later returned home to discover a note from her husband, in which he said he was heading to Virginia Beach or Washington to "clear his head." He said he would return and told his wife not to call police. Shortly after Cummins disappeared with one of his students, Tennessee authorities discovered that he had falsified information on an application for a $4,500 title loan. CNN

Fresno, California Gunman Enters Court Shouting
The suspect in this week's racially motivated shooting rampage in Fresno faced repeated domestic violence charges years ago, including allegations that he beat the mother of his child. Sacramento County court records reviewed by The Associated Press on Friday show Kori Ali Muhammad was accused in four cases of beating two women. The charges say he once threatened to burn the home of his child's mother if she went to police. Two of the four cases in 1997, 2000 and 2001 were dismissed, and he served brief jail terms on the others. He also faced charges of illegally possessing a handgun. Muhammad appeared in court Friday on charges of killing an unarmed security guard in Fresno last week. Muhammad is accused of the killings Tuesday of three other white men. ABC

UC Berkeley Students Threaten To Sue Over Ann Coulter Visit
The University of California at Berkeley students who invited Ann Coulter to speak on campus are threatening to sue the university if it doesn't find a proper time and venue for the conservative pundit to speak next week. Harmeet Dhillon, who represents the Berkeley College Republicans, said in letters sent Friday to UC Berkeley's Interim Vice Chancellor Stephen Sutton and chief attorney Christopher Patti that if Coulter is not allowed to give a speech on campus on April 27 she will file a lawsuit in federal court because the university is violating the students' constitutional right to free speech. The cancellation comes after a series of violent clashes this year on campus and in downtown Berkeley between far-right and far-left protesters who come armed with pepper spray, Molotov cocktails, brass knuckles and soda cans filled with concrete. ABC

"That's America": Town Hall Ride-along With Rep. Bradley Byrne
Congress goes back to work Monday after a two-week recess. Some Republicans who returned to their districts avoided tough questions from constituents, but not Congressman Bradley Byrne. The Alabama lawmaker held 11 town halls in four days. He drove himself and his staff across rural Alabama, where he fielded concerns about the Trump administration’s plans. Byrne does more town halls than nearly anyone in Congress: 87 of them since he began representing Alabama’s 1st district in 2013, reports CBS News chief congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes. “Are there more people that are turning out this year who are more adversarial to me about my positions? Yeah. And some of them state their positions pretty darn forcefully. That’s America. That’s good,” Byrne said. CBS

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North Korea Warns Australia Of Possible Nuclear Strike If It 'Blindly Toes US Line'
North Korea’s state new agency (KCNA) quoted a foreign ministry spokesman castigating Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop, after she said the rogue nation would be subject to further Australian sanctions and for “spouting a string of rubbish against the DPRK over its entirely just steps for self-defence”. “If Australia persists in following the US moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK and remains a shock brigade of the US master, this will be a suicidal act of coming within the range of the nuclear strike of the strategic force of the DPRK,” the report said. “The Australian foreign minister had better think twice about the consequences to be entailed by her reckless tongue-lashing before flattering the US.” The Guardian
VOA VIEW: Un is a danger to the world.

French Elections 2017
French voters go to the polls on Sunday in the first round of a presidential election that to the very end has brought little consensus or comfort and only one certainty: the result will be a political upheaval, whoever wins. Even as they walk into their bureau de vote, many will still be undecided, faced with paper slips for an unprecedented 11 candidates, only four of them thought to be serious contenders for the Elysée palace. There is a nail-biting sense that anything could happen. Do they vote for or against? Do they choose a candidate who represents their politics or one who, opinion polls suggest, is most likely to defeat the woman whose presence as one of two candidates in the second-round runoff in a fortnight seems a given, but whose name still provokes a frisson of fear for many: the far-right Front National leader Marine Le Pen, with her anti-Europe, anti-immigration, “French-first” programme? The Guardian

Russian Chief Rabbi: France’s Jews Should Leave Ff Le Pen Wins Election
Many French Jews regard Marine Le Pen as dangerous, and the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities has called her and the communist candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon 'candidates of hatred.' Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar called on French Jews to leave their country if the far right politician Marine Le Pen is elected president next month. Lazar, a Chabad rabbi who was born in Italy and has lived in Russia for 25 years, made the remark on Friday while attending a conference on Jewish learning near Moscow organized by the Limmud FSU asssociation. Jerusalem Post

How Britain’s former Syria Ambassador Appeared On BBC To defend Assad...
A former British ambassador to Syria who appeared on the BBC to defend the Assad regime had already become a director of a lobby group run by the dictator’s father in law. Peter Ford, 59, courted controversy this month by claiming that President Bashar al-Assad would not have carried out the chemical gas attack on his own people. Now the Telegraph can reveal that just weeks before the April 4 attack  Mr Ford had become a director of the controversial British Syrian Society. Telegraph

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