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NEWS   TUESDAY, MARCH 31, 2015   NEWS

'Current White House May Be Least Friendly To Religious Concerns In Our History’
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia gave a speech to seminarians in his archdiocese on March 17 in which he examined the threats to religious liberty arising around the world—including in the United States. In his speech, the archbishop said: “The current White House may be the least friendly to religious concerns in our history.” He also said: “We need to remember two simple facts. In practice, no law and no constitution can protect religious freedom unless people actually believe and live their faith – not just at home or in church, but in their public lives. But it’s also true that no one can finally take our freedom unless we give it away.” CNS News
VOA VIEW: Obama  is an Islamic extremist.

Being Poor Affects Kids' Brains
Children raised in poor households have clear differences in the physical structures of their brains compared to wealthier children, a new study finds. Brain scans of 1,099 children and teenagers in nine major cities shows the poorer kids have less surface area of the brain. This is important because having more brain surface area is linked with intelligence. "Specifically, among children from the lowest-income families, small differences in income were associated with relatively large differences in surface area in a number of regions of the brain associated with skills important for academic success," said Dr. Kimberly Noble, an assistant professor of pediatrics and director of the Neurocognition, Early Experience and Development Lab at Columbia University Medical Center, who helped lead the study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience. MSNBC

US Signed Agreement With Mexico To Teach Immigrants To Unionize
The federal government has signed agreements with three foreign countries — Mexico, Ecuador and the Philippines — to establish outreach programs to teach immigrants their rights to engage in labor organizing in the U.S. The agreements do not distinguish between those who entered legally or illegally. They are part of a broader effort by the National Labor Relations Board to get immigrants involved in union activism. The five-member board is the agency that enforces the National Labor Relations Act, the main federal law covering unions. In 2013, Lafe Solomon, the board's then-acting general counsel, signed a "memorandum of understanding" with Mexico's U.S. ambassador. The current general counsel, Richard Griffin, signed additional agreements with the ambassadors of Ecuador and the Philippines last year. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Obama is against American workers.

Boom! The Dow Surged More Than 260 Points
Yup, investors have forgotten all that. The market is back in rally mode. The Dow rose more than 260 points Monday, or 1.5%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq both rose more than 1% as well. Here are three reasons why it was something that Susanna Hoffs would call "just another manic Monday." 1. The Fed is going to take things slow. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen got traders in a festive mood late Friday. In a speech released just 15 minutes before the market closed, Yellen made it painstakingly clear that she does not think the United States economy is anywhere close to its full potential. She said that the economy should be "booming" if things were back to normal and that there was "some way to go" before the labor market was back to full employment. CNN

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When Considering 2016 Candidates, The Biggest Litmus Tests For GOP Voters: ISIS And Abortion
Republican voters appear to be dug in on two very specific issues which could very well sway their votes when the time comes. “The deal-breakers: What rules Republican candidates in or out?” asks a new CBS News survey. “The poll tested a number of policy positions in general terms, asking Republicans if they would consider voting for a hypothetical candidate for the party’s nomination who holds a different view on an issue than they did,” the researchers state. “Among the issues asked about in the poll, the biggest litmus tests for Republicans are candidate positions on ISIS - which Republicans overwhelmingly see as a major threat to the U.S. - and abortion. Washington Times

The MIND Diet: 10 Foods That Fight Alzheimer's (And 5 To Avoid)
Doctors have been saying for years that what you eat can affect the health of your heart. Now there's growing evidence that the same is true for your brain. A new study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago shows a diet plan they developed -- appropriately called the MIND diet -- may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by as much as 53 percent. Even those who didn't stick to the diet perfectly but followed it "moderately well" reduced their risk of Alzheimer's by about a third. CBS

Marco Rubio To Announce 2016 Presidential Run Decision On April 13
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said today he will announce whether he will run for president at an upcoming event. “I will announce on April 13 what I’m going to do next in terms of running for president or the U.S. Senate," Rubio said on FOX News' "The Five." Rubio, a first-term senator, is up for re-election to the Senate in 2016, but Florida law bars him from running for both the Senate and the presidency at the same time. If he chooses to run for president but loses, Rubio said he wouldn't fall back on a Senate bid as a back-up plan. "When you choose to do something as big as that, you’ve really got to be focused on that and not have an exit strategy," Rubio said earlier this year. ABC

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The 2 States Obama Hasn't Visited
He's visited steel mills in Indiana and movie studios in California; an oil spill in in Louisiana and a landslide in Washington State; military bases from New Jersey to Texas; even Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. When President Barack Obama speaks at the Hill Air Force Base in Utah on Friday, he'll have traveled to 49 states as president, nearly reaching his goal of stopping in every single one during his eight years in office. After this week, South Dakota will remain the only state unvisited by the commander-in-chief — though Obama's aides say he's gunning to reach all 50 by the end of his term. CNN

Ex-Intelligence Chief: U.S. Displaying 'Willful Ignorance' Regarding Middle East
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Obama, says there is "incredible policy confusion" in Washington regarding the Middle East, where the United States sides with Saudi Arabia and Sunni Muslims in some cases, but then sides with Iran and the Shi'ites in other cases -- all while trying to strike a nuclear deal with Iran, a country he said can't be trusted. "So, let me just start by saying as an intelligence officer, intelligence has to be part of the calculus of every strategic level of decision. And, right now, I don't -- my sense of where the policy is at is sort of, and I hate to say it like this, but it's almost a policy of willful ignorance," Flynn told "Fox News Sunday." Reuters
VOA VIEW: Obama own are against his traitorous madness.

Pentagon Chief Sends Military Wish Lists To Congress With Reservations
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Monday sent the military's annual "wish lists" to U.S. lawmakers, including 12 Boeing Co F/A-18 fighter jets and 14 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets, but said he would not back any of the requests unless Congress passed a larger overall defense budget. "Any extra program inserted into our budget submission will come at the expense of other programs we deemed more important, with ripple effects across the rest of the budget," Carter said in a letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters. Carter told lawmakers he was sending the lists of "unfunded priorities" to Congress as required under a defense policy law of fiscal 2013, but registered his concerns about any moves by Congress to restructure the Pentagon's budget request. Reuters

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Germanwings Flight 9525 Co-Pilot Was Treated For 'Suicidal Tendencies'
The co-pilot believed to have intentionally crashed a plane into the French Alps last week, killing all 150 aboard, had been treated for "suicidal tendencies," German prosecutors said Monday. Andreas Lubitz, the 27-year-old co-pilot who investigators say locked the Germanwings Flight 9525 pilot out of the cockpit and crashed the Airbus A320 last Tuesday, received psychotherapy "with a note about suicidal tendencies" for several years before becoming a pilot, according to Ralf Herrenbrueck, spokesman for prosecutors in Dusseldorf. Still, Herrenbrueck said no motive has emerged to explain the act, and said Lubitz showed no sign of a physical illness. Fox

NCAA 'Deeply Concerned' Over Indiana Religious Freedom Law
Days before the Final Four tips off in Indianapolis, the head of the NCAA told NBC News on Monday that he is "deeply concerned" about an Indiana law that opponents say could be used to justify anti-gay discrimination. "Our core values are built around notions of diversity and inclusion," NCAA President Mark Emmert said. "And anything that might create an environment within which we can't maximize those values is something that we take very, very seriously." The law, signed last week by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, says that the state cannot "substantially burden a person's exercise of religion" unless it is furthering a "compelling government interest" and acting in the least restrictive way possible. MSNBC

Pentagon Peril: Private Sector Jobs, Unfit Civilians Threaten U.S. Military Recruiting
Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter announced Monday that the military will have to do more to recruit the best of the next generation, including helping to pay off student loans, improving transition assistance and expanding programs that offer a mid-career break. Mr. Carter, speaking at his old high school outside Philadelphia, said the Defense Department had a huge influx in the all-volunteer force as Americans joined up in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. As those people leave the military, he said the department will have to adjust to remain attractive to younger generations. Washington Times

Hillary Clinton: Return U.S.-Israel Relations To Constructive Footing
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the head of a group representing major American Jewish organizations that the U.S. relationship with Israel needed to be returned to a more "constructive footing." "Secretary Clinton thinks we need to all work together to return the special U.S.-Israel relationship to constructive footing, to get back to basic shared concerns and interests, including a two-state solution pursued through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians," Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said in a statement Sunday evening. She also said that Israel should not be allowed to become a partisan issue. CBS

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Yawning, Whistling Might Get You Flagged At Airport Security
Excessive yawning, whistling and too much laughter could possibly find you detained by airport security agents for further questioning, according to a recently released list. The SPOT Referral Report, which stands for "Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques," was obtained a week ago by The Intercept, which claims the unclassified report is a "closely held" Transportation Security Administration (TSA) document detailing what Behavior Detection Officers look for when observing suspicious travelers and possible terrorists at the nation's airports. Actions appearing on the 92-point checklist featured on The Intercept were divided into categories such as "stress factors," "fear factors" and "signs of deception," and ranged from "appears to be in disguise" and "face pale from recent shaving of beard" to "excessive yawning," "excessive throat clearing" and "gazing down." ABC

With Or Without Iran Deal, Obama Faces Fight With Congress
If the negotiations with Iran now in their final hours in Switzerland produce the framework of a deal, President Barack Obama will face a leviathan task of selling it to a skeptical Congress. If they fail to produce anything by a self-imposed March 31 deadline, he’ll confront an equally daunting challenge of holding off congressional moves to impose new sanctions on Iran while he tries to buy more time for negotiations. In either case, Obama will have to make the case for what would be a crowning foreign policy achievement to a public that distrusts Iran’s regime, yet doesn’t want an unresolved nuclear crisis to spark a nuclear arms race, or even a war, in the Middle East. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: Obama is stirring major turmoil in the middle east.

U.S. Consumers Are Saving At Highest Rate Since 2012
A booming job market and cheaper fill-ups at the gas pump should be giving millions of Americans more reasons to spend. Instead, they're salting away the extra savings. The saving rate jumped in February to 5.8 percent, the highest since December 2012 and up from 4.4 percent just three months earlier, government data showed Monday. The equation is simple: Incomes, boosted last month by a surge in dividends, grew faster than purchases. Bloomberg

U.S. Forces To Train Ukraine National Guard In Late April
- The U.S. Army will begin training Ukraine's National Guard units on April 20, Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov announced. "American commandos, numbering 290, will come to Yavoriv training ground, Lviv region, on April 20. This is where a long-term military exercise of 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team of the U.S. Army and combat units of the National Guard will be held," Avakov said Sunday on Facebook. Yavoriv, near the border with Poland, is the site of the International Peacekeeping and Security Center. UPI

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Jailed Ex-New Orleans Mayor Gets More Time For Appeal Briefs
Federal public defenders have been granted more time to work on the appeal for former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who is serving a 10-year sentence for corruption. Briefs in Nagin's appeal had been due Monday, but the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals pushed back the deadline to April 9. The Federal Public Defender's office sought a delay. The office noted that its lawyers had not represented Nagin in his 2014 trial and were having to prepare an appeal in a complex case with limited access to Nagin by mail and telephone. Federal prosecutors did not object to the delay, which was granted last week. Public defenders were appointed to the case last year after Nagin's previous attorney, Robert Jenkins, said the former mayor was unable to pay him. Las Vegas Sun

North Korea Developing Ballistic Missile Capable Of Reaching U.S.
North Korea has taken additional steps in developing a long-range ballistic missile that could target the United States, National Intelligence Director James Clapper said. Clapper addressed Congress last week with the latest findings on North Korea's advancements in deploying a long-range, intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, known as the KN-08. The missile, said Clapper, is capable of reaching the United States. But because of its long range the KN-08 is not capable of attacking South Korea. UPI

Carter Says US Policy On Iran-Backed Forces Will Hold
Defense Secretary Ash Carter says that when Iraqi security forces carry their counteroffensive beyond the current battle for Tikrit, the U.S. will continue to insist that Iranian-backed Shiite militias not participate. In remarks Monday at Fort Drum, New York, Carter said the coalition must ensure it is working only with forces under Iraqi government control as Iraqi ground troops seek to retake territory held by the Islamic State group. The U.S. last week began to provide Iraqi forces with intelligence from U.S. aerial surveillance and to launch airstrikes in support of the battle for Tikrit. It did so on condition that the Iranian-backed Shiite militias not participate. Las Vegas Sun

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PLO Member Accuses Israel Of War Crimes Over Har Homa
PLO Executive Committee member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi accused Israel of war crimes after the Jerusalem Municipality issued a construction permit for 143 apartment units in the Jewish neighborhood of Har Homa located over the pre-1967 lines on Monday. “This latest development is an additional war crime as stipulated by the Rome Statute, and the occupation authorities will be held accountable by the International Criminal Court and other venues for its continued aggression on the lands and resources of the state of Palestine,” Ashrawi said. According to Hagit Ofran of Peace Now, the construction permit was a technicality for a project that was marketed by the city years ago. She explained that a private contractor needed the permit for work that had already been authorized. The municipality made no comment. Jerusalem Post

Netanyahu Blasts Emerging Nuclear Deal As 'A Reward For Iran's Aggression'
As Iran and world powers face less than two days to reach a framework nuclear deal, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday again attacked the emerging agreement, saying it would serve as "a reward for Iran's aggression." Netanayhu, who has maintained a staunch stance against a nuclear Iran, warned that Israel among other "moderate and responsible" states in the Middle East would be the first to be affected by a deal that emerges from the current ongoing negotiation in Switzerland.
"The deal emerging in Lausanne [Switzerland] sends a message that there is no cost for aggression, and in turn, that there is a reward for Iran's aggression," the premier lamented. Jerusalem Post

G20 World Leaders' Data Emailed To Football Organisers
The passport numbers and visa details of 31 world leaders were accidentally emailed to the organisers of the Asian Cup in Australia before the G20 summit in Brisbane in November 2014. Those affected included US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. A worker at the Australian Department of Immigration sent the list by mistake. The department decided there was no need to alert the G20 attendees. "Given that the risks of the breach are considered very low and the actions that have been taken to limit the further distribution of the email, I do not consider it necessary to notify the clients of the breach," an unnamed Department of Immigration director wrote to the Australian Privacy Commissioner in an email obtained by the Guardian following a Freedom of Information request. BBC

Obama's Going To Kenya – And Some Republicans Detect A Hidden Agenda
Republican senator Mitch McConnell warned Barack Obama a few months ago that acting on immigration reform would be “like waving a red flag in front of a bull”. Everybody believed him, because Republicans were fresh off a debt-reduction strategy nicknamed: “Hand it over – or the economy gets it”. Now, a prominent Republican is second-guessing what may be Obama’s boldest provocation yet: visiting Kenya. The White House announced on Monday that Obama would attend the 2015 global entrepreneurship summit that will take place in July in Kenya. It will be his first trip to Kenya as president. An official announcement with the anodyne title “Reinforcing the US-Africa partnership” trotted out various government-related excuses for why Obama, whose father was Kenyan, would make the trip. Guardian

Louisiana Death Row Case Confounds US Supreme Court Over Mental Disability
The US supreme court heard arguments about the fate and mental condition of death row inmate Kevan Brumfield on Monday, in a case that asks the nine justices to decide whether a man deemed disabled by one court can be killed out of deference to the decision of another. But the justices struggled even to determine the facts of what happened in a murder trial 20 years ago, frequently interrupting lawyers and losing patience with both sides’ inability to present a clear account of how Louisiana reviews mental disability. Justice Antonin Scalia confessed he had not read the massive, 20-volume record of the case in its entirety, and doubted any of his colleagues would manage it either. Guardian

Republicans See Barack Obama As More Imminent Threat Than Vladimir Putin
A third of Republicans believe Barack Obama poses an imminent threat to the United States, outranking concerns about Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, and Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president. A Reuters/Ipsos online poll this month asked 2,809 Americans to rate how much of a threat a list of countries, organisations and individuals posed to the United States on a scale of 1 to 5, with one being no threat and 5 being an imminent threat. The poll showed 34 per cent of Republicans ranked Mr Obama as an imminent threat, ahead of Mr Putin (25 per cent), who has been accused of aggression in the Ukraine, and Mr Assad (23 per cent). Western governments have alleged that the Syrian president used chlorine gas and barrel bombs on his own citizens. Telegraph
VOA VIEW: Obama is the biggest threat to the United States since its Declaration of Independence.

Boko Haram ‘Weakened’ But Still Committing ‘Horrendous’ Acts, Says UN Regional Envoy
As the Security Council met this morning to discuss threats to international peace and security caused by terrorism, top United Nations officials briefed the 15-member body on the impact of Boko Haram in Nigeria and beyond, warning of the group’s intensified violence and brutality. “Though weakened, the group continues to commit horrendous acts against civilians, including against women and children,” said Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA). “Boko Haram’s recent allegiance to the Islamic State for Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), whether for publicity reasons or to tap into ISIL’s support, is also of concern as it is gives a clear signal that Boko Haram’s agenda goes well beyond Nigeria.” UN New

In Iraq, UN Chief Pledges Support As Government Tackles Ongoing Threat From ISIL
Despite recent military gains against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), “vast challenges” remain ahead as the Government of Iraq fights to consolidate its territorial integrity against the terrorist threat, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today during an unannounced visit to Baghdad. “We will continue to do all we can to assist the people and Government of Iraq to end this crisis so that they may focus their energy and resources on building a more peaceful, stable, democratic and prosperous future for all Iraqis,” Mr. Ban told reporters in the Iraqi capital. UN News

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