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Boehner Unleashed: Ex-Speaker Calls Cruz 'Lucifer,' 'Miserable Son Of A B----'
So, Mr. Speaker, how do you really feel? John Boehner, the famously blunt ex-House speaker, left no doubt he's not a fan of fellow Republican Ted Cruz, leaping off the sidelines of the presidential race Wednesday night to unleash a stunning verbal lashing of the Texas senator, reportedly calling him “Lucifer in the flesh” and a “miserable son of a bitch.” The longtime Ohio powerhouse had not been very outspoken on the race since retiring last year, but he held little back when asked about the Texas senator and underdog GOP presidential candidate during a forum at Stanford University. “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life,” he said, according to The Stanford Daily. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Cruz is acting like a fool.

Ted Cruz On John Kasich: 'There Is No Alliance'
Washington (CNN)Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on Thursday downplayed the idea of an alliance between himself and Ohio Gov. John Kasich to prevent Republican front-runner Donald Trump from locking up the nomination. "I recognize that the media is all eager to talk about an alliance. There is no alliance. Kasich and I made a determination where to focus our energies. Where to focus our assets, where to focus our resources," he said at a news conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Cruz and Kasich campaigns issued statements Sunday saying they will divide their efforts in upcoming contests with Cruz focusing on Indiana and Kasich devoting his efforts to Oregon and New Mexico. CNN

Paul Ryan Doesn't Say If Women Should Register For Draft; Wants 'Comprehensive Look' At Selective Service Process
At his weekly press briefing today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) was asked his view on an amendment that the House Armed Services Committee approved to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Wednsday, which would require women to register for the draft. “We need to take a comprehensive look at the entire Selective Service process and we should just deal with one issue at a time,” Ryan said, without stating his position on requiring women to register for the draft. CNS News

Obama Crushes The Dreams Of Aspiring Journalists
President Obama talked to a group of college journalists Thursday — but instead of telling them about life as commander in chief, he complained about being “picked on” by the press, a report said. The president, joined by his press secretary, Josh Earnest, vented to the students about the “pokes and prods” from the press. “Sometimes, both Josh and I probably have our disagreements with the press corps and feel picked on or misunderstood,” Obama said. “But the truth of the matter is, and I’ve said this before, what separates us out in part from a lot of other countries in the world is we’ve got this incredible free press that pokes and prods and calls into account our leaders.” NY Post
VOA VIEW: Obama is a whiner and loser - the press has been positively bias towards him.

Eurozone Economic Growth Rate Unexpectedly Doubles
The eurozone economy has finally recouped all the ground lost in the recessions of the past eight years after official figures Friday showed that the 19-country single currency bloc expanded by a quarterly rate of 0.6 percent in the first three months of the year. The scale of the increase reported by Eurostat in a preliminary estimate was unexpected — the consensus in the markets was for a more modest rise to 0.4 percent from the previous quarter's 0.3 percent. Eurostat said the increase means that the eurozone economy is now 0.4 percent bigger than it was in the first quarter of 2008, before the deep recession stoked by the global financial crisis. Since then, the eurozone has had a torrid time, falling in and out of recession as the global financial crisis morphed into a debt crisis that at various times. Tampa Tribune

Senate Confirms Obama's Pick To Be Ambassador To Mexico
The Senate on Thursday confirmed President Barack Obama's nominee to be U.S. ambassador to Mexico, clearing the way for the first woman to hold what is considered to be one of the country's most important diplomatic posts. Roberta Jacobson was confirmed by voice vote nine months after her nomination. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., had been blocking her confirmation, objecting to her role in negotiating the normalization of U.S. relations with Cuba. At the time he was seeking the Republican nomination for president. Jacobson is the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs. That position gave her a prominent voice in leading talks with Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties and embassies after more than five decades of antagonism. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. was sending "one of our finest diplomats to advance this important relationship." Tampa Tribune


Pelosi: Court Gave Us Victory On Same-Sex Marriage We Could Not Get 'Legislatively'
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at a press conference at the Capitol on Thursday that the Democrats’ goal to make homosexual marriage the law of the land could not be accomplished “legislatively,” but was achieved through “the courts.” “Another piece of our agenda was to promote marriage equality in our country,” Pelosi said in explaining her party’s “four point” plan to advance the homosexual lifestyle. “Legislatively, we couldn’t really succeed, but from the courts and the rest, and public opinion, of course, in the actual courts and in the court of public opinion, that victory has been won,” Pelosi said, referring to the Supreme Court decision in June that said state bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. The press conference was held to advance the Equality Act, or HR 3185, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes under the law. CNS News

Republicans, Obama Immigration Chief Clash Over Criminal Immigrants
The chief of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said on Thursday her agency released 19,723 undocumented immigrants last year who had been convicted of crimes, drawing a volley of criticism from Republican lawmakers. In a heated exchange at a congressional hearing into crime committed by illegal immigrants, Republicans grilled top Obama administration immigration official Sarah Saldana. The issue is at the heart of Republican demands for tighter control of U.S. borders and has often featured in rhetoric over immigration in the 2016 presidential election campaign. Reuters

U.S. Senators Release Final Sentencing Reform Bill
A revised criminal justice reform bill moved closer to a full U.S. Senate vote on Thursday when it gained support from more Republicans after being stalled for months in Congress. In a legacy-shaping issue for President Barack Obama, the measure's sponsors announced four new Republican co-sponsor senators and a new version of the bill at a press conference in the Senate. The measure now has 37 co-sponsors, according to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley. Grassley said he had been waiting for the bill to be finalized before asking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring it up for a full Senate vote, but that "it is time for those discussions to start right now." Reuters

Jeb Bush Says Cruz Choosing Fiorina Was A 'Smart Move'
Jeb Bush says Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz made a “smart move” in choosing Carly Fiorina as his running mate. Bush, a former contender for the GOP nomination, said Thursday that front-runner Donald Trump is “not a serious person,” especially on foreign policy matters. The CNN interview was the first public appearance by Bush since dropping out of the race in February. Bush, who has endorsed Cruz, praised Fiorina as “talented” and “tough.” He says she “takes on Trump really well and she takes on Hillary Clinton very well. I thought it was a smart move.” Sun Sentinel
VOA VIEW: What does Bush know - also a loser.

Ted Cruz Lays Groundwork For Last Stand In California
He’s down by more than 400 delegates and got swept Tuesday night in five GOP primaries by the juggernaut campaign of Donald Trump, and the former House speaker is calling him "Lucifer in the flesh." But Ted Cruz may have one last ace up his sleeve: California. The state’s GOP primary race here, which takes place on June 7, the final day of the presidential primary season, is shaping up to be the Texas senator’s last stand of his tenacious run at the Republican nomination. At stake: 172 delegates — more than any other state’s GOP primary. Even if he still loses key GOP races in Indiana and Nebraska in May, California’s large delegate count could help Cruz block Trump’s path to the nomination and force a contested convention in Cleveland in July, said Mark Jones, a Rice University political scientist.  “California will be pivotal,” Jones said. “It has enough delegates that it could allow Cruz to turn the tables.” USA Today

Trump, Cruz Face Early Test At California GOP Conclave
California’s Republican Party convention will be an early test for Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich in a state whose June election could hold the decisive delegates in the fight for the party’s presidential nomination. Trump, who has seized front-runner status as a political outsider, will be speaking Friday outside San Francisco to hundreds of longtime GOP insiders — the activists, grassroots organizers and elected officials who make up the core of the state party. Kasich also speaks Friday, while Cruz and his choice for running mate, Carly Fiorina, speak Saturday. The reception Trump in particular receives will be noteworthy: The billionaire businessman known for his boisterous public rallies rarely speaks to Republican establishment groups and has railed against what he calls a rigged party system that governs the nomination. USA Today


Two Midrange North Korean Missiles Explode After Launch
In the past 24 hours, not one, but two North Korean intermediate-range ballistic missiles exploded shortly after launch, a U.S. official briefed on the latest intelligence in the region told Fox News on Thursday. The first Musudan missile exploded at approximately 5:00 p.m. ET Wednesday. The second exploded early Thursday morning at 6:30 am ET, according to the official. This is the third time North Korea’s new Musudan missile, which has never been successfully tested, has failed to launch. On North Korea’s “Founder’s Day” on April 15, the first test of a Musudan missile with a range of 2,500 miles failed spectacularly in an embarrassing setback for the communist regime. Fox News

Donald Trump's Foreign Policy Speech Earns Praise In Russia
After Donald Trump gave a much-anticipated foreign policy speech Wednesday, some of the most glowing reviews that he received were from a place that doesn't often see eye-to-eye with American politicians. Trump's speech was more than well-received in Russia. In Moscow's Red Square, passersby speaking to CNN praised the New York tycoon. And Russian politicians from President Vladimir Putin on down have been quoted saying favorable things about the GOP presidential front-runner.
Putin recently called Trump "a brighter person, talented without a doubt." Trump returned the compliment saying: "I like him because he called me a genius. He said Trump is the real leader." And in his address in Washington Wednesday, the billionaire businessman expressed hope about the potential for improvement in American-Russian relations. CNN

Secret Service Plans To Raise White House Fence By 5 Feet
The U.S. Secret Service plans to raise the height of the White House security fence by 5 feet and add a new concrete foundation to reduce the risk of fence-jumpers, according to a copy of an agency report obtained by the News4 I-Team. The agency, along with the National Park Service, said it intends to begin building a “taller, stronger” fence to protect the White House grounds by 2018. Details of the plan were included in an audio recording of a briefing made by federal officials, which was released to the I-Team Wednesday. The same briefing is expected to be presented May 5 at a meeting of the National Capital Planning Commission, which must first approve any changes to White House fencing. MSNBC

Riots Erupt As Trump Campaigns In California
Raucous crowds of protesters took to the streets late Thursday in California as Donald Trump brought his Republican presidential campaign to conservative Orange County after sweeping the Northeast GOP primaries. Dozens of protesters were mostly peaceful as Trump gave his speech inside the Pacific Amphitheater. After the event, however, the demonstration grew rowdy and spilled into the streets. At least four people were arrested and one Trump supporter had his face bloodied in a scuffle as he tried to drive out of the arena. One man jumped on a police car, leaving its front and rear windows smashed and the top dented in and other protests sprayed graffiti on a police car and the venue’s marquee. NY Post
VOA VIEW: The attacks on Trump show the ignorance and madness of liberals.

The Latest: Biden Calls For Global Funding For Cancer Cures
Vice President Joe Biden says the world is on the cusp of unprecedented scientific discoveries and medical breakthroughs. But he says it's critical not to forget that real people's lives are behind that work. Biden is speaking about cancer research at the Vatican at a conference on regenerative medicine. He's reflecting on the death of his son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, to brain cancer last year. Biden says there's always a child, spouse or loved one in pain. He says they're sustained by the hope that there will be a cure. Houston Chronicle

Congressional GOP Beginning To Accept Trump As Nominee
Congressional Republicans are beginning to accept, and even embrace, an outcome that was once unthinkable: Donald Trump as the GOP presidential nominee. In the wake of the businessman's commanding wins in five Eastern states this week, a growing number of lawmakers say that Trump is taking on an air of inevitability. Some argue they should get behind him now instead of trying to stand in his way, as some establishment Republicans are still attempting to do by backing various "Never Trump" efforts. For some lawmakers, supporting Trump is seen as their only hope of stopping the Democrats' likely candidate, Hillary Clinton, in November and ensuring a Democratic president doesn't fill Supreme Court vacancies. Houston Chronicle

SpaceX Is Getting Serious About Going To Mars
The company made the announcement on Twitter without many other details. NASA confirmed it's partnering with SpaceX on the project but is only providing technical support and won't be putting any money into the effort. The news was met with a fair bit of skepticism. For one, a 2018 launch is a pretty tight timetable. SpaceX says it plans to send its Dragon 2 capsule, which uses a propulsion system to slow its descent to the ground and land in a controlled way. Atlanta Journal

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Sen. Hatch Demands Secret Memo That’s Aided Obama Executive Actions
President Obama’s unilateral pen-and-phone approach to governing has been aided by a decades-old secret memo that allows him to avoid economic scrutiny of some of the most intrusive rules and regulations his administration has issued, a top senator said Thursday. Now Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican and chairman of the Finance Committee, has demanded Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew release the 1983 memorandum of understanding and defend the Reagan-era policy that has allowed Mr. Obama to pursue changes on everything from corporate taxes to Obamacare without first giving a full heads-up to Congress. Washington Times

Trump Targets ‘Single Greatest Problem’ In World — And ‘It’s Not Global Warming’
GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Thursday again refused to rule out using nuclear weapons in the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group, saying he will not be a “happy trigger” but that he wants to have an element of unpredictability. “I don’t want to rule out anything,” Mr. Trumpsaid on NBC’s “Today” program. “I will be the last to use nuclear weapons. It’s a horror to use nuclear weapons. The power of weaponry today is the single greatest problem that our world has, and it’s not global warming like our president said. It’s the power of weapons, in particular nuclear.” Washington Times
VOA VIEW: No commander-in-chief should be predicatable.

Man Indicted In Fatal Shooting Of Ex-Saints Player
A business owner and semiprofessional football player was indicted Thursday on a second-degree murder charge in the shooting death of retired New Orleans Saints' defensive end Will Smith. Cardell Hayes was also indicted on a charge of attempted murder, because police say he wounded Smith's wife April 9 after they got into a traffic dispute. The two men got into an argument after Hayes' Hummer hit Smith's Mercedes SUV from behind, according to police. The indictment was handed down during a preliminary hearing on whether there was probable cause to charge Hayes. With the indictment, prosecutors will likely be able to keep some evidence closer to the vest rather than presenting it during a preliminary hearing. CBS


Caitlyn Jenner Uses Women's Room At Trump Hotel, Posts Video
Caitlyn Jenner has taken up Donald Trump's offer and used the women's restroom at one of his luxury buildings. The Republican presidential candidate said last week that he believes transgender people should be able to use whichever bathroom they choose. Trump said North Carolina's so-called "bathroom law," which directs transgender people to use the bathroom that matches the gender on their birth certificates, has caused unnecessary strife. Trump said that if Jenner - who won an Olympic gold medal as Bruce Jenner - were to walk into Trump Tower, she could use whichever bathroom she wanted. Instead, Jenner used the women's room - without incident - at the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Manhattan. She posted a video titled "Bathroom Break" on her Facebook page. CBS

Calling The SWAT Team On Your Neighbor Could Soon Carry A 20-Year Prison Sentence
A potentially lethal form of prank-calling could soon be banned with stiffer penalties under a piece of legislation that just passed a crucial vote in Congress. The bill takes aim at a tactic known as “swatting” – where a prankster calls the cops and alerts them to a bomb threat or other criminal activity going down at the target’s house. Unable to tell the difference between a fake threat and a real one, the authorities send a SWAT team to storm the victim’s abode, guns drawn. And the victim has no choice but to endure the abuse. It’s a form of primarily Internet-driven trolling that’s become all too common, lawmakers say. Look it up on YouTube and you’ll get tens of thousands of results like this one. Charlotte Observer

What’s In A Name Change? Politics, Some Fear
For years, students and faculty at George Mason University paid little attention as Charles G. Koch and other conservatives helped transform their once sleepy commuter school in the suburbs of the nation’s capital into a leading producer of free-market scholarship. The effort, after all, was focused on a few specific departments like economics and law and attracted little attention outside conservative circles. But the announcement last month that George Mason would rename its law school in honor of Justice Antonin Scalia, the longtime voice of the Supreme Court’s conservative wing who died in February, abruptly ended that indifference. The name change – and the fact that it was tied to a $30 million combined gift from the Charles Koch Foundation and an anonymous conservative donor – focused attention for the first time in a serious way on whether the administration and trustees at George Mason had allowed the state’s largest public university to become an ideological outpost. Charlotte Observer

Florida’s Heroin And Opioid Crisis Comes To Capitol Hill
Florida’s heroin and prescription opioid problem hit Capitol Hill on Thursday when lawmakers from across the state got an update about the destructive force of abuse and addiction that’s rocking families from Key West to Jacksonville. U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, and Alcee Hastings, D-Fort Lauderdale, organized the meeting for Florida’s congressional representatives just days after a state medical examiner’s commission report showed heroin overdose deaths in the state increased 900 percent from 2010 to 2014. From 2013 to 2014 alone, heroin deaths in Florida jumped from 199 to 447. That’s up 684 percent from just 57 in 2011. Kansas City Star

Ted Cruz's Delegate Counter Cuccinelli Says They're ‘Cleaning’ Trump’s ‘Clock’
Ken Cuccinelli, the former attorney general of Virginia and chief delegate counter for Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, brushed off this Tuesday’s losses to Donald Trump in five northeastern states. He said the Cruz campaign will “march on.” In the latest edition of the “Powerhouse Politics” podcast, Cuccinelli told ABC News’ Political Director Rick Klein, who hosts the podcast with Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl, that Tuesday was a “good day” for Trump, but many of the states the real estate mogul has won “will never in a million years vote a Republican for president.” ABC
VOA VIEW: Cuccinelli is a fool.

California Democrats Will Meet To Choose National Delegates
While much of the political attention is focused on the California GOP convention this weekend, Democrats are holding important meetings around the state to select delegates to the national convention in Philadelphia. The party business is drawing outsize interest as California's presidential primary — the last in the nation — is relevant for the first time in decades. Democrats in each of California's 53 congressional districts will hold two caucuses, one each for the party's two presidential hopefuls — former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. ABC

How Marco Rubio Negotiated To Extend Venezuela Sanctions
It happened with little fanfare Thursday: The U.S. Senate agreed to three more years of sanctions against key officials of the Venezuelan government, a law pushed by South Florida legislators to punish President Nicolás Maduro’s government. The extension passed in the Senate by unanimous consent. The back story of how it all happened, however, is far more interesting than the easy vote suggests. Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio took to the Senate floor Wednesday to ask his colleagues to extend the 2014 sanctions, co-sponsored with New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez and set to expire at the end of this year. The law lets the U.S. freeze assets and deny visas for Venezuelan officials deemed responsible for violence and political arrests that roiled the South American country in 2014. It prompted Maduro and his government to brand Menendez, Rubio and other South Florida lawmakers “terrorists” and ban them from Venezuela. Miami Herald

North Korea Sends Another US Citizen To Prison
North Korea on Friday sentenced a U.S. citizen of Korean heritage to 10 years in prison after convicting him of espionage and subversion, the second American it has put behind bars this year. Kim Dong Chul had been detained in the North on suspicion of engaging in spying and stealing state secrets. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison with hard labor after a brief trial in Pyongyang. North Korea's Supreme Court found Kim guilty of crimes and espionage and subversion of under Articles 60 and 64 of the North's criminal code. Further details were not immediately available. When he was paraded before the media in Pyongyang last month, Kim said he had collaborated with and spied for South Korean intelligence authorities in a plot to bring down the North's leadership and had tried to spread religion among North Koreans before his arrest in the city of Rason last October. SF Gate

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First Read: Cruz And Allies Have Five Days To Stop Trump
When Ted Cruz unveiled Carly Fiorina as his running mate on Wednesday, and when he struck that alliance/truce with John Kasich on Sunday night, they were from a position of weakness -- not strength. The reason: If Cruz and the "Stop Trump" movement don't win in Indiana on May 3, they're done. It's that simple. After Trump ran the table in Tuesday's primaries, including getting at least 35 of the 54 Pennsylvania unbound delegates (and that number could go above 40), a win in Indiana -- even by a single point -- would put him on a glide path to 1,237 delegates. So those are the big stakes for next week's primary in the Hoosier State. But you have to give the Cruz campaign credit: Given that must-win situation, they're trying every trick in the book (early VP pick, alliance) to win. But when you throw that "Hail Mary" and the pass falls incomplete, the game is usually over. MSNBC

U.S. Stocks Drop As Dollar's Plunge Boosts Commodities To Bonds
Stocks fell from Tokyo to New York as central banks showed little will to step up support for flagging economies amid disappointing corporate results. The dollar tumbled the most in six weeks. While U.S. equities briefly overcame early losses sparked by the Bank of Japan’s surprise decision to refrain from adding to stimulus, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended Thursday down the most since Feb. 23 as investor Carl Icahn said he sold his stake in Apple Inc. The greenback’s decline sparked gains in commodities, while haven assets jumped, driven by the yen’s steepest advance since 2010. Treasuries extended gains. Bloomberg

Congress Has No Good Reason To Delay Zika Funding
More than two months after the White House asked Congress for more than $1.8 billion to fight the Zika virus, Congress has yet to provide it. President Barack Obama, Republicans claim, has failed to explain in sufficient detail how his administration would spend the money. Perhaps his 25-page proposal, sent to House Speaker Paul Ryan in February, got lost in interoffice mail. If so, no worries: There’s also a summary on the Web. Most of the money -- about $1.5 billion -- will go to the Department of Health and Human Services to help states control the mosquito that carries the virus, expand programs to test for it, and work on developing a vaccine. Bloomberg

Christie: 'That Was Not An Eye Roll'
Gov. Christie knows when his wife is rolling her eyes – and that’s not what she was doing while standing behind Donald Trump, he said Thursday. “I’ve seen the Mary Pat eye roll for 32 years. That was not an eye roll,” Christie said at a news conference, refuting analysis of a widely circulated video clip of his wife’s expression during Trump’s primary night speech Tuesday. Mary Pat Christie was standing behind the billionaire’s left shoulder. As Trump said of Hillary Clinton, “The only thing she’s got going is the woman’s card,” Mary Pat glanced to the right. Philadelphia Inquirer
VOA VIEW: The bias liberal media make a big deal of nothing - anything to put down Trump.

U.S. To Curb Queries On Criminal Histories Of Government Job Seekers
The White House on Friday will move to bar federal agencies from asking applicants for tens of thousands of government jobs about their criminal histories until the very end of the process. While checks of criminal histories have become routine in the public and private sectors, a regulation being proposed by the Obama administration would remove a barrier that discourages many freed prisoners from applying for jobs. The rule would prevent supervisors interviewing applicants for about half of all federal positions from asking about a job seeker’s criminal or credit history until a conditional offer is made. NY Times

Donald Trump’s Gender-Based Attacks On Hillary Clinton Have Calculated Risk
With the nation on the verge of a presidential election between the first woman to lead a major party and an opponent accused of misogyny, Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump are digging in for a fight in which he is likely to attack her precisely because she is a woman. Mr. Trump, the Republican favorite, has already proved willing to attack Mrs. Clinton in ways that many women find sexist and that her supporters consider out of bounds. This week alone, he accused her of playing the “woman’s card” to get where she is, saying, “If Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 percent of the vote.” He questioned her “strength” and “stamina,” and he mocked her for “shouting.” Also this year, he attacked Mrs. Clinton as the enabling political spouse of a former president who Mr. Trump said had abused women. NY Times

Trump Beat Expectations Everywhere, Suggesting Broad Shift
After just about every primary night this year, I’ve written something like “Donald Trump stayed on a narrow but clear path to the Republican nomination.” After Tuesday night, Trump has never had a wider path to a majority of pledged delegates. He swept the Northeastern corridor by a huge margin, smashing any and all expectations based on primaries to date. He won a majority of the vote nearly everywhere, and even carried many of the places where he was expected to be weak — like Montgomery County, Maryland, or Greenwich, Connecticut, or Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His huge victory makes a majority of delegates seem well within reach. That’s in part because he amassed more delegates than expected, but also because his strength made wins in Indiana and California seem more likely than before. Las Vegas Sun

GOP Senator Blocks Vote On Army Secretary Over Guantanamo
Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts is blocking a vote on the nomination of Eric Fanning to be the next Army secretary. At issue are efforts by the president to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and transfer detainees to the United States. Republican Sen. John McCain tried to secure a vote on Manning, who if confirmed would be the first openly gay leader of a U.S. military service. But Roberts objected on Thursday, saying he won't relent until the White House promises no detainees will be moved to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. McCain says it's unfair to block Fanning's nomination over an unrelated issue. McCain calls it a distortion of the Senate's advise and consent role. Fanning has served in several roles at the Pentagon. Las Vegas Sun

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How Much Money Is The Life Of The World's Richest Jew Worth?
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is so valuable, in fact, that his company has spent over $12 million since 2013 to protect him. According to Bloomberg, Facebook revealed to regulators that it allocated $4.26 million for Zuckerberg's security detail last year alone. The company said that its chairman was subject to "specific threats to his safety arising directly as a result of his position" as head of Facebook. Bloomberg reported that Zuckerberg is protected by a team that includes a former US Secret Service agent who also worked on President Barack Obama's security detail. Jerusalem Post

Hamas: 'There Will Be An Explosion' Unless Israel Lifts Gaza Blockade
The report cited a statement issued by the spokesman of the Palestinian terrorist movement's military wing at an event that presented a model of the Israeli bus that exploded in a bombing in Jerusalem claimed by Hamas last week. Hamas deputy leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, also spoke at the event and charged that the latest Hamas-claimed terrorist attack proved that the organization had not given up the "resistance option" against Israel. Jerusalem Post

Dreamworks' Jeffrey Katzenberg To Step Down In $3.8B Comcast Deal
Dreamworks Animation's chief executive and co-founder, Jeffrey Katzenberg, will step down to head DreamWorks New Media in a $3.8 billion deal with Comcast's NBCUniversal, the company announced Thursday. In selling the studio to NBCUniversal, DreamWorks Animation stockholders will receive $41 in cash for each share of DreamWorks Animation common stock. Katzenberg will head up DreamWorks New Media, which will be made up of the company's ownership interests in Awesomeness TV and NOVA. Katzenberg will also serve as a consultant to NBCUniversal. Dreamworks is responsible for animated hits that include "Shrek" and "Kung Fu Panda." BBC

Ralph Nader To Bernie Sanders: Keep Running
Ralph Nader, the man many Democrats still despise for refusing to drop out of the 2000 presidential race, says Sen. Bernie Sanders should continue to campaign through the Democratic convention. Asked whether he thinks Sanders should quit the race, Nader said no, citing potential political pitfalls for front-runner Hillary Clinton in the future. "But why should Bernie Sanders drop out? There could be a scandal with Hillary Clinton. Those transcripts and closed door meetings with the big bankers and other corporations could be released," Nader said in a phone interview with CNN. BBC

Obama Administration Urges States To Curb Use Of Solitary Confinement
The Obama administration is pressing individual states to join its mission to cut back on the use of solitary confinement in US prisons, in the hope of reining in a practice that is still widespread despite having been denounced as potentially amounting to torture. The drive from the White House and Department of Justice is tacit recognition that without the cooperation of state corrections departments and legislatures – many of them Republican-controlled – the goal of reducing solitary confinement will remain a pipe dream. Guardian

Tennessee Continues Anti-LGBT Legal Onslaught With 'Therapist Bill'
Following the passage of the so-called “bathroom law” in North Carolina and an anti-LGBT religious liberty law in Mississippi, similar laws have percolated throughout the country. It’s the largest legal push against LGBT rights in memory, according to Eunice Rho, advocacy and policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. She told the Guardian that in 2016 more than 150 such bills have been proposed across the nation, many in the south. “It’s politically driven,” she said. “Politicians are preying on people’s fears of the unfamiliar.” Guardian

Donald Trump Adviser Paul Manafort Victorious In Campaign Power Struggle
Donald Trump's first major foreign policy address marked a victory for his adviser Paul Manafort in the internal war that has consumed the Republican front-runner's campaign. Mr Manafort, who was brought on board recently to professionalise Mr Trump's approach, has been tussling with the candidate's long-time manager Corey Lewandowski who presided over a free-wheeling, spontaneous operation. While Mr Lewandoski introduced the campaign motto "Let Trump be Trump," Mr Manafort has sought to make the candidate more "presidential," urging him to hire speechwriters and use teleprompters rather than ad-libbing off hand-scrawled notes. Telegraph

Syria: Human Toll And Suffering Are 'Sickening,’ UN Relief Chief Tells Security Council
With hundreds of thousands of civilians killed, millions of people displaced and countless families torn apart, the UN relief chief today described the human toll and suffering in Syria as “sickening,” and said the global community should be “ashamed” that this is happening on its watch. “It does not require me to say to each and every member of the Security Council, that the impact of five long years of conflict in Syria defies understanding, let alone its description,” Stephen O’Brien, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, told the 15-member body during a monthly humanitarian update. UN News

Workplace Stress ‘A Collective Challenge’ As Work-Life Boundaries Become Blurred – UN
Marking World Day for Safety and Health at Work, the United Nations’ International Labour Organization (ILO) today outlined the findings of its latest research on the impact of stress in the workplace. “Work-related stress affects workers in all professions in developed and developing countries alike. It can gravely harm not only workers’ health but also, and all too often, the wellbeing of their families,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder in a statement. This year’s World Day for Safety and Health theme is “Workplace Stress: a collective challenge” and focuses on the toll taken on the health and wellbeing of workers worldwide by stress in their working environment. UN News

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